One third of Ontarians avoid winter driving

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TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll reveals one quarter of Ontarians are anxious, scared or panicked when it comes to winter driving; preparation is essential

TORONTO, Nov. 28, 2011 – When the thermostat drops and the snow clouds roll in, more than one third of Ontarians (35%) admit they avoid driving in Canada’s winter wonderlands, according to the TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll; and one quarter of respondents (24%) say they feel anxious, scared or even panicked when driving during winter.

The poll also found that Ontarians biggest winter driving pet peeves are drivers who follow too closely behind them (32%), drivers who are too fast (30%), and drivers who don’t brush the snow off their cars (23%).

“Winter driving can be stressful for even the most experienced driver,” says Henry Blumenthal, Vice President and Chief Underwriter, TD Insurance. “Snow on the roads means an increase in auto insurance claims, so it’s important drivers educate themselves on how to stay safe on the roads this winter and make sure they have adequate insurance in the event that something unexpected happens.”

The generation gap

With age comes wisdom, so it’s no surprise older Canadians fare better on winter roads. According to the poll, Canadians aged 55 or over are not only more confident winter drivers (27% versus 17% of Canadians aged 18-34), they are also more knowledgeable on how to stay safe on the roads. More 55+ drivers knew that:

  • If your vehicle breaks down you should run the motor for shorter periods of time instead of leaving it running if stranded (87% versus 66% of younger Canadians)
  • Keeping your gas tank at least half-full will add weight and traction to your vehicle (69% versus 49% of younger Canadians)
  • If your vehicle skids out of control on a slippery surface, you should steer in the same direction of the skid (57% versus 45% of younger Canadians)
  • Using cruise control in winter can be dangerous (70% versus 64% of younger Canadians)

“Drivers who are prepared for the elements will feel more confident and better equipped to drive in all types of winter weather,” says Blumenthal. “Completing a winter driving course is not only a great way to keep safe in winter conditions, but it can also save you money on your insurance premiums.”

Blumenthal provides his advice for how Ontarians can avoid unwanted insurance claims in winter:

WINTER DRIVING CHECK LIST:

1. Be prepared

Check weather and road conditions. If necessary try to delay your departure, or head for well-travelled roads. Have an emergency kit in your vehicle, including a snow shovel and brush, booster cables, candle and matches, blanket and cat litter (for traction). Check out RoadSafetyFirst.com, an online resource dedicated to safe driving, which offers articles on a variety of topics related to road safety, an RSS feed with the latest news, road conditions and weather, and tips for safe driving.

2. Drive slowly and leave room

Travel at a safe pace to avoid losing control, and remember it takes longer to stop in winter weather conditions, so leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.

3. Check your vehicle

Properly inflated, high quality winter tires will give you better traction on winter roads (and can even increase fuel efficiency!), so check tire pressure often. It’s also important to clear ice and snow from your vehicle to increase visibility. Chunks of ice or snow blowing off a vehicle in motion can be hazardous to other drivers.

4. Speak to your insurer

Call your insurer and review your auto insurance policy so there are no surprises if you have to make a claim.

About the TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll

From October 28th to November 1st, 2011 an online survey was conducted among 2,008 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists; 749 Ontario residents were surveyed. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.07%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About TD Insurance

TD Bank Group’s insurance companies and operations carry on business under the TD Insurance brand. TD Insurance offers a wide range of products to help protect clients from the ‘accidents of life’ including credit protection, life, health, travel, home and auto insurance. With more than three million clients, TD Insurance authorized products and services are available through a network of more than 1,000 TD Canada Trust branches, the Internet and telephone. The TD Insurance brands include TD Insurance Credit Protection and TD Insurance Life and Health, which are the number one provider of critical illness insurance and direct life and health premium origination in Canada. And through its TD Insurance Meloche Monnex and TD Insurance Home and Auto brands, TD Insurance is the largest direct-response insurance group in the country. For more information, visit www.tdinsurance.com.