Most Canadians Say They Feel Unprepared for Winter Driving

Gearing up for winter? belairdirect survey reveals that only 38 per cent of Canadians carry all components of a winter driving kit

Toronto, ON (Nov. 23, 2020) – With winter weather creating unpredictable driving conditions across the country each year, coming to grips with the colder weather can often be a cause for concern, even for the most experienced of drivers. In a new survey released by belairdirect today, it was revealed that most Canadians are not fully prepared for the colder months that lie ahead.

Driving on icy or snowy roads during a Canadian winter is all but guaranteed, yet only 45 per cent of respondents say they feel prepared for winter driving. When it comes to evaluating the skills of those they share the road with, Canadians feel even less confident, with 34 per cent rating the winter driving abilities of other drivers in their province as less than average. Alberta seems to be the least-trusting province with 37% rating the driving ability of those in their province as poor or very poor, compared to 32% in Ontario and 24% in Quebec.

Even though 44 per cent of respondents admit to feeling nervous or anxious, only 38 per cent reported that they have all the essential tools in their winter driving kit. While almost all Canadians (92 per cent) keep an ice scraper in their vehicle, only 2 in 3 report keeping extra windshield washer fluid and just over half (58 per cent) have blankets and warm clothes on standby. The importance of prepping for the winter season is certainly gaining traction, less than half of driving Canadians report regularly checking their headlights or brakes before driving, and only 4 in 5 respondents say they use snow tires

“The first snowfall tends to wreak havoc on Canadian roads each year, due to drivers often being ill-prepared for the winter season,” said Jeremy Green, Vice President of Sales & Operations at belairdirect. “From rear ending to a spike in single car collisions due to spin out, these are some of the most common claims we see, particularly within a day of the first heavy snowfall. However, with a little preparation, including the very important step of switching to snow tires, Canadians will feel more confident and potentially avoid some of these common slip-ups.”

When asked what should be done if their vehicle begins to skid, only 3 in 5 Canadians knew to continue steering in their intended direction. Quebecers came out on top, with 67 per cent knowing that this is the correct step to take, compared to 63 per cent of Albertans and 59 per cent of those living in Ontario. Reassuringly, almost all Canadians (94 per cent) know to gently decrease speed if their car begins to skid, with 82 per cent knowing to use your brakes once your vehicle slows down.

Safe driving: There’s an app for that

To help customers hone in on their safe driving skills and learn how to improve, the belairdirect automerit tool rewards safe driving. Available through the belairdirect app, automerit allows you to be in control of how much you pay for car insurance, by using sensors aboard your smartphone to evaluate driving habits including how much time you spend on the road and provide you with a personalized price based on how safely you drive. belairdirect customers get a 10% enrolment discount simply for signing up for the program and can get up to 25% off their car insurance, just for driving safely.

Recent data from automerit shows that Canadians do pay heed to winter driving safety, with driving at speeds over 100km/h reducing by a quarter in the winter, on average. However, with 24% fewer kilometres driven, 20% less time spent on the road, and average trips per day being down by 10% in winter vs. summer, it’s evident that the majority of Canadians do not feel as confident as they could when it comes to driving in the colder months. belairdirect’s top tips will help you feel more prepared and well-equipped to drive safely this coming winter.

Be Frost Forward with belairdirect’s Top Tips for Safe Winter Driving:

  1. Prepare for winter: Make sure you have a basic winter toolkit in your car including an ice scraper, extra windshield washer fluid, sand for traction, road flares, warm clothes and blankets.
  2. Pick the right tires: Having actual winter tires is an investment in your own safety. Make sure to choose a quality brand you can rely on.
  3. Slow down: When road conditions are uncertain, it’s important to slow down to identify potential risks. When facing icy roads, remember to refrain from making any sudden movements and gradually slow down to stay in control of your vehicle.
  4. Keep calm: A lower stress level means more composed and thoughtful reflexes. It allows you to stay in control and keep your mind alert to what’s happening in front of and around you.
  5. Maintain your distance: Driving behind large trucks can cause snow, ice or water to splash onto your windshield. The panic due to a temporary loss of visibility may lead drivers to lose control, so it’s important to keep a safe distance of at least a few lengths behind bigger vehicles.
  6. Stay informed: Before hitting the road, check the weather forecast to have an idea of the potential road conditions in advance. If it’s too risky, it may be wise to choose to stay home.

For more information about automerit, click here.

About the belairdirect survey

A total of 1,000 adult residents from across Canada were surveyed online, between September 17-22, 2020. The sample was randomly drawn from Leger’s web panel of potential survey respondents. Post-stratification weights were applied to the sample based on 2016 census population figures to ensure representation by province of Canada, age and gender. An associated margin of error for a probability-based sample of this size would be ±3%, 19 times out of 20.

About the belairdirect automerit findings

Data from analysis comparing last winter (December 2019 – February 2020; not including March to avoid COVID-19 distortions) with summer 2019 (June – August 2019).

About belairdirect

Founded in Quebec in 1955, belairdirect provides car and home insurance products directly to consumers. It currently employs more than 1,600 people. The company offers a simple but complete solution, allowing customers to communicate with an agent by phone or online. belairdirect was the first property and casualty insurer in North America to sell car insurance products online (, attesting to the company’s innovative character. belairdirect is a subsidiary of Intact Financial Corporation (TSX: IFC), the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada and a leading provider of specialty insurance in North America. belairdirect is a proud partner of Breakfast Club of Canada. For more information, please visit

SOURCE: belairdirect

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