By Sheryl Smolkin
Read this article and comments at Moneyville.ca
Moneyville recently featured an excellent article on 10 ways to cut winter driving costs. But the costs that I worry about are potential injury, loss of life and increased insurance premiums resulting from an accident.
A recent TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll confirms that many other Canadians share the same fears. Atlantic Canadians (46 per cent) are most likely to avoid driving in the winter but more than one-third of Ontarians also admit they try to stay off winter roads and one-quarter say they feel anxious, scared or even panicked when driving in bad weather.
The most confident drivers in the country hail from Alberta, despite the slippery ice and snow that lines the province’s roads. They are also the most prepared in Canada with more than half (58 per cent) packing an emergency kit, compared to only 43 per cent of all Canadians.
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation recommends that you have the following items in your vehicle’s winter survival kit in case you become stranded:
- Ice scraper/snowbrush
- Sand or other traction aid like kitty litter
- Tow rope or chain
- Booster cables
- Road flares or warning lights
- Gas line antifreeze
- Flashlight and batteries
- Fire extinguisher
- Extra clothing and footwear
- Non-perishable energy foods like chocolate, granola bars, juice, soup and bottled water
- Candle and a small tin can
Some other winter driving hints to keep in mind are:
- If your vehicle breaks down and you are stranded, run the motor for shorter periods of time instead of leaving it running constantly.
- Keep your tank at least half full to add traction and weight to your vehicle.
- If your vehicle skids out of control on a slippery surface, steer in the same direction as the skid.
- Using cruise control in the winter can be dangerous.
TD Insurance VP and Chief Underwriter Harry Blumenthal also suggests taking a winter driving course to become more confident in winter driving conditions and to save money on your insurance premiums.