However, the Onlia Winter Safety Index, a recent study conducted by Angus Reid, found that most Ontario drivers surveyed are ready for the 2020/21 winter driving season. Almost 90% said they were mostly prepared and 52% reported being completely set.
But even the most experienced drivers can be caught off guard by winter. Every year, there’s a spike in collisions when winter weather comes blowing through. During the first winter snowfall of 2016, the city of Toronto saw more than 500 crashes in 24 hours!
While your safety is the top priority, the prospect of getting in an accident, no matter how minor, has insurance implications, too. If you make a claim for a collision for which you’re considered at-fault, your insurance premium could go up. And if you make numerous claims over a few years, no matter who’s to blame, insurance providers will consider you higher risk and charge higher premiums — they could even refuse to take you on as a customer.
These are just some of the good reasons to “master” winter driving. And we’re here to help you get there. Whether you’re new to winter driving or are looking for winter driving tips to improve your skills behind the wheel, here’s what you need to know to get around safely during our coldest months.
Get winter tires
Our survey found that 76% of drivers planned to put winter tires on their cars in 2020. Smart move: winter tires can play a huge role in protecting drivers during snowy and icy conditions. When you swap your all-season tires for winter tires, you can benefit from:
- Up to 50% more traction
- Increased control on slippery roads
- Up to 25% shorter braking distance
When vehicles are outfitted with winter tires, there is a measurable decrease in collisions, injuries and fatalities during winter months.
Want another great reason to invest in winter tires? You’ll save money on car insurance. All Ontario insurance providers are required to offer reduced auto insurance premiums to drivers who have four winter tires installed on their family vehicles.
For information on what to look for, how and when to install winter tires and more, check out Winter Tires 101.
Prepare your vehicle for winter
You need to think about more than just tires as the weather turns brisk. There are lots of other parts of your vehicle that could benefit from extra winter attention. Plan to:
- Ensure your windshield wiper blades are high-quality and in good working order.
- Be sure your windshield washer fluid is always topped up — you’ll need to clear your windshield often when driving in slushy weather.
- Lubricate your vehicle’s locks, latches and doors with WD-40 to reduce the chance of them getting stuck in frigid weather.
- Have an ice scraper/snow brush in the car at all times so you can de-ice your windshield.
- Stock your trunk with a winter car emergency kit. Our survey found that only 62% of drivers planned to ensure jumper cables were at the ready in their vehicle; 58% were stowing extra winter clothing and blankets; and only 42% were including a shovel. The more prepared you are, the less likely you’ll have a dangerous experience on the roads in winter weather.