Many B.C. drivers unprepared to weather the storm on winter roads

Many B.C. drivers unprepared to weather the storm on winter roads 
-- TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll reveals how British Columbians get ready 
for snow on the roads -- 
VANCOUVER, Dec. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - With snow, slush and sleet in the forecast 
for the week leading up to the holidays, it isn't surprising that one quarter 
of drivers in British Columbia (24%) admit they feel scared, anxious or uneasy 
when driving in winter. Yet as the thermostat drops, a new poll by TD 
Insurance has found many B.C. drivers are not taking all the precautions they 
can to stay safe and keep calm on the winter roads. 
According to the poll, B.C. drivers are least likely to carry an emergency kit 
in their car (72% versus 60% nationally) and get their car serviced before the 
season begins (45% versus 38% nationally). Additionally, 57% don't use snow 
tires in winter, despite the fact that over half (58%) say they would feel 
safer driving this winter if other drivers had winter tires on their car. 
"Winter driving can be stressful for even the most experienced driver, but if 
you are prepared with the rights tools and knowledge you will feel more 
confident and better equipped to drive in winter weather," says Dave Minor, 
Vice President, TD Insurance. "For example, an emergency kit in your car that 
includes a few basics - like a snow shovel, ice scraper, blanket, flashlight 
and even some cat litter for traction - can be crucial in helping you navigate 
your way safely out of an accident." 
As auto insurance claims spike during the winter, Minor also recommends 
drivers review their policies before the season to ensure their coverage still 
reflects their needs. However, the poll found that although 97% of B.C. 
drivers say that auto insurance is an extremely or very important tool to help 
overcome the challenges of winter driving, only 10% of drivers review their 
auto insurance before winter hits. 
"It's unrealistic to know your policy line-by-line, but it's important to 
familiarize yourself with your coverage so there are no unpleasant surprises 
down the road," says Minor. "For example, check your policy for what type of 
incidents you are covered for and what your excess would be if you were in an 
accident. Remember to notify your insurer of any installs or upgrades to your 
car, too." 
As B.C. drivers hit the road to visit friends and family over the festive 
season, Minor provides his top tips for drivers on how to arrive safely at 
their destination: 

    --  Prepare your vehicle for winter: Before the cold weather hits,
        make sure you get a maintenance check-up. Ensure your battery
        or radiator is ready for sub-zero weather. Invest in a set of
        winter tires and check the pressure often. Don't forget to
        clear all the snow and ice off your car to increase visibility,
        and adjust your seat, headrest, seatbelt and mirrors to a
        comfortable position.
    --  Check the forecast: The safest strategy is to avoid driving in
        bad winter conditions altogether. But if you have to hit the
        roads, Environment Canada issues warnings when it expects
        blizzards, heavy snow, freezing rain and other bad weather that
        you should check before you go. B.C. drivers are least likely
        in the country to check the weather and road conditions before
        getting in their car (60% versus 70% nationally) and to give
        themselves more time to get to their destinations (80% versus
        87% nationally).
    --  Fuel up: It's never a good idea to let your fuel run low.  Not
        only could you be left stranded, but it can also do serious
        harm to your car.  A full tank can help minimize condensation,
        prevent the gas line from freezing, and can even provide
        additional traction if you hit a patch of black ice.
    --  Pack extra: On a snowy or windy day, it's easy to use up a few
        litres of windshield washer fluid to maintain visibility, so
        keep extra in your vehicle. Pack an emergency kit, and don't
        forget a fully-charged cell phone.
    --  Remember the two-second rule: According to the poll, 87% of
        British Columbian drivers leave more room between their car and
        the car in front in winter. To ensure you leave adequate room,
        pick a marker on the road ahead, such as a road sign or
        lighting.  When the back of the vehicle in front of you passes
        the marker, count 'one thousand and one, one thousand and two'.
        If you reach the same marker before you finish counting, you
        are following too closely.
    --  Familiarize yourself with what to do if you're in an accident:
        Stay calm and safe, report the accident to your local emergency
        services if necessary, exchange information with other drivers
        involved, take photos, and contact your insurance company. 
        Always report a car accident to the police if someone is
        injured, or if the damage is over the provincial limit (e.g. in
        British Columbia the limit is $1,000).
    --  Review your insurance: In addition to knowing about policy
        coverage, ask if your provider offers roadside assistance,
        which can be particularly useful in the colder months.
        Completing a winter driving course can show you additional
        techniques to stay safe during winter months, and it may also
        save you money on your insurance premiums.

About the TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll
TD Insurance commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct an online 
custom survey of 1,005 Canadian residents aged 18 and older who have driven a 
motor vehicle on Canadian roads in the past 12 months, including 132 
respondents in British Columbia. Responses were collected from November 7 to 
14, 2012.

About TD Insurance

TD Insurance offers a wide range of products to help protect clients from the 
'accidents of life' including credit protection, auto, home, health, life, and 
travel insurance. With more than 3 million clients, TD Insurance authorized 
products and services are available through a network of more than 1,150 TD 
Canada Trust branches, the Internet and telephone. For more information, visit

Liz Christiansen / Caitie Wallman Paradigm Public Relations 416-203-2223 /

Jeff Meerman TD Bank Group 604-654-0324

SOURCE: TD Insurance

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CO: TD Bank Group
ST: British Columbia

-0- Dec/17/2012 13:30 GMT

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