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Belairdirect Survey Shows Most Canadians Not Prepared for Winter Driving

In a new survey released by belairdirect, it was revealed that most Canadians are not fully prepared for the colder months that lie ahead. Photo: Shutterstock

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, 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 percent 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 percent 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 percent of respondents admit to feeling nervous or anxious, only 38 percent reported that they have all the essential tools in their winter driving kit. While almost all Canadians (92 percent) keep an ice scraper in their vehicle, only 2 in 3 reports keeping extra windshield washer fluid and just over half (58 percent) 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

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 percent knowing that this is the correct step to take, compared to 63 percent of Albertans and 59 percent of those living in Ontario. Reassuringly, almost all Canadians (94 percent) know to gently decrease speed if their car begins to skid, with 82 percent knowing to use your brakes once your vehicle slows down.

Winter driving safety

Recent data from belairdirect’s automerit app 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 gives tips to feel more prepared and well-equipped to drive safely this coming winter.

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

  • Prepare for winter: Make sure to 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.
  • Pick the right tires: Having actual winter tires is an investment in one’s own safety. Make sure to choose a quality brand they can rely on.
  • 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.
  • Keep calm: A lower stress level means more composed and thoughtful reflexes. It allows one to stay in control and keep their mind alert to what’s happening in front of and around them.
  • Maintain your distance: Driving behind large trucks can cause snow, ice or water to splash onto one’s 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.
  • 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.

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