Drivers unsure of how to prevent a collision with wildlife

A new national survey from State Farm Canada sheds light on how Canadians react to wildlife while driving.

About 1 in 3 drivers do not feel confident that they would know how to avoid a collision with a large animal, and over 80 per cent believe that better public education about how to react to wildlife on the road is needed to prevent collisions that could lead to injuries and fatalities.

According to the survey, when seeing a deer in the middle of a two-lane highway, Canadians are most likely to brake (66 per cent) or take their foot off the gas (55 per cent). More than one-third indicated they would honk their horn and one-quarter said they would swerve.

“The unpredictability of these situations, combined with human impulses to try to preserve the lives of these animals makes these situations difficult and dangerous,” says John Bordignon, Media Relations, State Farm Canada. “In fact, according to police and road safety experts, swerving is not the best strategy when approaching wildlife on the road. Instead, they advise drivers to maintain their line, even if it’s toward the animal, and firmly apply the brakes. Swerving could send you into the path of an oncoming vehicle or cause you to lose control of your car.”*

More Education Needed

The survey indicates that Canadians want and need more education on how to deal with wildlife on our roads. The most likely time to encounter wildlife is at dusk or dawn, in October and November, on two-lane rural highways with speeds of 80 km/h or more1. From an insurance perspective the average auto damage claim after hitting an animal is $4500 2.

State Farm Canada’s long-time partner and road safety experts, The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), have developed an online information centre focused on road safety and wildlife. The Wildlife Roadsharing Resource Centre (WRRC) profiles tips on wildlife collision prevention, how to respond to animals on the road, tips for when a collision with wildlife is unavoidable and advice on what to do after a collision.** Specifically, TIRF has produced a fact sheet to address some of the common myths and misconceptions around wildlife vehicle collisions.

Fast Facts

  • More than 25 percent of survey respondents have hit a small animal on the road while driving
  • More than 25 per cent have either hit or nearly hit a large animal while driving
  • More than half of respondents who said they had hit a large animal had damage to their car
  • More than 80 per cent of respondents claim they slow down when they see road signs for wildlife in the area
  • Most respondents believe either evening (46 per cent) or night (36 per cent) is the most likely time to hit an animal on the road

Additional Resources

This is the final of three news releases State Farm will distribute in 2017 revealing survey results and the opinions of Canadians about their driving habits and road safety.


To find out more about how State Farm works to improve road safety in Canada, please visit

About the Survey

The online survey, conducted in March 2017, polled 3,061 respondents of driving age across Canada.

About the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF)

Established in 1964, TIRF’s mission is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. As a national, independent, charitable road safety institute, TIRF designs, promotes, and implements effective programs and policies, based on sound research. TIRF is a registered charity and depends on grants, contracts, and donations to provide services for the public. Visit us online at

About State Farm Canada

In January 2015, State Farm Canada operations were purchased by the Desjardins Group, the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and among the three largest P&C insurance providers in Canada. With approximately 500 dedicated agents and 1700 employees, the State Farm division provides insurance and financial services products including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. For more information, visit, join us on Facebook – – or follow us on Twitter –

*This information is provided for informational purposes only. Neither State Farm nor Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company, nor any of its or their affiliates, shall be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice. Its is recommended that an expert be consulted for comprehensive, expert advice.

** Neither State Farm nor Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company, nor any of its or their affiliates is responsible for the contents of and make no warranties or representations about the contents, products or services offered on

®State Farm and related trademarks and logos are registered trademarks owned by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, used under licence by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company.
©Copyright 2017, Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company.

1,2 Wildlife Roadsharing Resource Centre, Traffic Injury Research Foundation,

SOURCE State Farm

I Want My Car Simple Again

Today’s high tech cars have centre console mounted displays that allow anyone (including the driver) to play around with while in motion; should be against the law. Some cars even need to have the driver touch a screen to change the radio volume or station; a dangerous practice. Older car radios you can FEEL the knobs without taking your eyes off the road. I think vehicles are going the wrong direction these days with their gadgetry.

This opinion was delivered to the DriveSmartBC Inbox last week along with a wish that I would write about it so that other drivers might learn the risks. Even though in car systems are legal, they do present a significant risk for distracted driving. Manufacturers are quite happy to provide the things that we want in our vehicles even when they have not evaluated risk, or worse yet, know of the risk but choose to provide them anyway.

Probably the worst outcome from distracted driving that I was called on to investigate was a fatality where a driver was parked on the side of the highway, well to the right of the single solid white line. I’m guessing that he had stopped to have a bite to eat and enjoy the view from what I discovered inside the passenger compartment. An passing vehicle’s front seat passenger had been having difficulty inserting a CD into the stereo, so the driver intervened to help. The vehicle drifted to the right, which was the direction the driver was looking in, and collided with the parked car.

The driver in the parked car did not survive the collision.

Inserting a CD into a slot in the dash is not a complicated task, but as the e-mail writer observes, using a touch screen or finding the controls on some modern vehicles can tie up your attention for a significant period of time. At 120 km/h on our freeways, one second translates into just over 33 meters of travel. A lot can happen in a couple of seconds.

As part of its Center for Driving Safety and Technology, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned the University of Utah to carry out research to address three important questions:

  1. Which task is the most demanding to complete while driving: calling/dialing, sending a text message, tuning the radio or programming navigation?
  2. What level of demand is associated with completing these tasks using voice commands, touchscreens or other interactive technologies (e.g., buttons, rotary dial, writing pad)?
  3. How does demand from these interactions vary across the infotainment systems found in different vehicle makes and models?

The findings are probably not a surprise for you:

  1. Overall, navigation was found to be the most demanding task.
  2. All tasks were associated with higher levels of cognitive demand.
  3. Of 30 vehicles tested 23 vehicles generated high or very high levels of overall demand on drivers. None of them yielded low overall demand.

The most important piece of information to take away from this is that motorists should remember that just because technologies come installed in a vehicle does not mean automaker testing has proven they are safe to use while driving.


New Brunswick to impose new measures for drunk drivers starting November 1

FREDERICTON _ New Brunswick will seize drunk drivers’ cars for up to two months under a law that comes into force Nov. 1

Public Safety Minister Denis Landry says the new law will make the province one of the country’s toughest on impaired driving.

Anyone convicted of drunk driving will have their vehicle impounded for up to two months and have a mandatory ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle when they get their licence back.

The mechanism is similar to a breathalyzer and won’t allow a vehicle to start if the driver is over the limit for alcohol.

The changes also include longer suspensions for drivers with a blood alcohol level within the warning range of 0.05 and 0.08, and those suspensions will remain on their driving record.

Police officers will also have the discretion to suspend a driver for 24 hours if they have any concerns about his or her safety.

Danielle Cole of MADD Canada says the changes are welcome news that will help reduce the number of impaired drivers.

Cole, who survived a crash with a drunk driver in 2012, says impounding vehicles is a great move.

“Looking back at B.C. they imposed impoundment in 2010 and it reduced impaired driving crashes by 50 per cent. The same was done in Alberta and it reduced crashes by 43 per cent,” she said.

Erin Norwood of the Insurance Bureau of Canada says the changes send a strong message.

“If you drink and drive, you will face severe penalties. Your car may be seized, you may be arrested, charged and sent to jail. On top of that your insurance premiums may increase dramatically,” she said.

Norwood says that according to Statistics Canada, New Brunswick is one of only two provinces where the number of impaired drivers under the age of 20 has actually decreased in the last six years.

Chris O’Connell, New Brunswick’s registrar of motor vehicles, says about 1,000 people are convicted of alcohol-impaired driving in the province each year. He says that will mean about 1,000 ignition interlock devices will have to be put into use.

The cost of the interlock devices about $95 per month  will have to be paid by the drivers using them.

Landry also says he’s confident the province and police will be ready to deal with drivers who may be under the influence of marijuana.

The federal government plans to make recreational cannabis legal by July of next year, and Landry says there’s a lot of discussion underway across the country to ensure police have the regulations and equipment they need.


Five of the biggest new innovations in the insurance industry


Insurance has changed little since the first fire insurance companies were established following the Great Fire of London in 1666.

The purpose of insurance ‒ to protect people from financial loss ‒ remains but the latest innovations are set to change the way the market works for the benefit of insurers, brokers and customers.

Big data

Big data, where insurers use more and more sources of information to gain a deeper insight into the risk they’re covering, has huge benefits.

As well as more accurate underwriting and pricing, a deeper understanding of customers can also drive more personalised product development and marketing.

Customers are enjoying a much smoother insurance application process. Instead of customers supplying lots of data themselves, insurers can pull details in from other sources, which saves time and reduces hassle, which allows brokers to spend more time with their customers.

But there are challenges to overcome. Insurers need to be confident in the accuracy and appropriateness of the data they use. And, with the General Data Protection Regulation coming into effect in May 2018, there could be challenges on data consent.


Flagged up by the Financial Conduct Authority as having the potential to provide innovative solutions in financial services, blockchain is a mutual distributed ledger system. This enables multiple parties to share the same information, without the need for validation from an intermediary. Another key benefit is that it is virtually impossible to hack

Some of the first examples of its application in the sector include providing insurance to sharing economy platforms but it also has the potential to streamline paperwork and deliver efficiencies in the claims process.

To explore the potential of distributed ledger technologies, Allianz together with other insurers and reinsurers have launched the Blockchain Insurance Industry Initiative B3i. Now with 15 members, this is looking at the efficiencies this could drive in the insurance value chain.

Internet of things

With everything from phones to cars and kettles linking to the internet, the insurance sector is set to benefit from this connectivity. As well as enabling the provision of new services, in many areas this will shift the focus from repair to prevention.

In the motor space, telematics is already helping insurers understand more about the risks they’re covering, while also encouraging better driving habits and improving road safety.

Similarly, connected homes, where a building can be monitored with devices such as leak detectors and temperature gauges, will enable the cause of a potential claim to be identified  and dealt with before there’s any damage.

And rather than taking out traditional annual policies, by constantly monitoring usage and risk, cover could become much more fluid too.


Drones are delivering huge benefits in claims management. In situations such as fires or floods where it’s not possible for a claims adjustor to gain immediate access, a drone can be flown over the property to determine the extent of the damage. As well as resulting in improvements in customer service due to the speed at which this service can be delivered, repairs can also get started much sooner.

Drones can also be used for risk assessments, either where elements of a property are inaccessible, for instance the roof, or to provide underwriters with a view of the area so they can assess a range of risk factors.

Similarly, drones can be deployed for engineering inspections. Flying a drone around a building removes the need for scaffolding and ladders, which improves safety and can also increase the scope of the inspection.

Artificial intelligence

The volume of data available within the insurance sector makes it a prime candidate for artificial intelligence (AI). Already there are examples of insurers using more sophisticated machine learning analytics to support their staff in areas ranging from social media analysis to pricing and claims ‒ and this trend is certain to continue.

As an example, take Allianz-backed US insurer Lemonade. In December, thanks to one of its chatbots AI Jim, it was able to settle a claim in just three seconds. This included cross-referencing it with the policy details, running 18 anti-fraud algorithms and transferring the settlement into the policyholder’s bank account.

How to prepare your yard for a safe and spooky Halloween

Excerpted article was Written by Stephanie Fereiro | Economical

Halloween is just around the corner. Whether you’re going for a simple setup of cobwebs and cornstalks or building a haunted graveyard on your front lawn, taking a little extra care while you do it will not only help your decorations stay put, but it could also help you prevent a liability claim (which could come up if one of your visitors tripped on a topsy-turvy tombstone, for example). Consider these tips as you prepare your property for All Hallows’ Eve.

Decorating your yard before Halloween

  • Beware of tripping hazards. Keep in mind that many of your trick-or-treaters will likely be wearing masks, which could limit their visibility and make it tougher for them to make their way to your front door. Make sure your decorations and any electrical cords are placed away from your main walkways and stairs to prevent trips, and check that your steps and railings are in good repair.
  • Secure your skeletons. When hanging or placing decorations outside your home, secure them carefully so they don’t blow away or come loose and fall onto your walkways. This includes decorations that are placed on your lawn and your porch (like foam tombstones or scarecrows, for example).
  • Follow the directions. If any of your decorations came with instructions, be sure to read them carefully — and follow them. (E.g., string lights may say they’re intended for indoor use only. If that’s the case, only use them indoors, as using them outdoors may be dangerous.)
  • Go for fog. If you’re looking to create a spooky, foggy atmosphere, consider using a fog machine instead of dry ice, as dry ice can cause burns when touched. If you must use dry ice, be sure to keep it out of reach of visitors.

Last-minute to-dos for Halloween night

  • Light it up. If you’re planning on handing out treats, leave your outdoor lights on (and be sure to replace any burnt-out bulbs) so trick-or-treaters know you’re home and can see a clear path as they make their way to your door.
  • Don’t play with fire. Consider using no-flame battery operated candles to light up your jack-o’-lanterns. If you’d prefer to use real candles, place them in an area that will be out of reach for children and dogs, keep them away from wooden surfaces and flammable decorations, and don’t leave them unattended. If you’re using any string lights or decorations that require electricity, inspect the wires ahead of time to ensure they’re in good condition and don’t overload your circuits, as this could lead to a fire.
  • Keep your pets contained. Make sure your cats and dogs are in a secure area where they won’t be able to sneak out when you open the door for trick-or-treaters. Not only could your pet scare those little goblins, but he could also get spooked by all those costumes and run off — or into a busy street.

These are just a few ways to prepare for a safe and spook-tacular Halloween. Once you’ve decorated your yard, remember to design safe costumes for the kiddos and map out a route for your trick-or-treating trekif you’re planning on heading out for the night.

How to prepare your yard for a safe and spooky Halloween

Check out these top 10 tips from FOCA related to seasonal cottage closing:

Check out these top 10 tips from FOCA related to seasonal cottage closing:

  • Leave no valuables at the cottage – electronics, personal items, tools etc. – unless you’re prepared to lose them.
  • Sporting goods – fishing rods & equipment, water skis, toys etc – if they’re not secured (locked up, hidden or both) don’t expect them to be there next spring.
  • If you are leaving vehicles, make sure they’re winterized, secure and disabled – for snow machines, remove track and hide keys, ensure boats are covered and locked, outboard motors locked and slightly disassembled. ATVs disabled – leave nothing on trailers unless it is locked or disabled. Remember – “Lock it or Lose it!”
  • Secure your cottage windows and doors – close window curtains or blinds and put up shutters to protect interior from marauders (animals and human).
  • Pack up and take home all alcohol.
  • Do not leave firearms or weapons at the cottage.
  • Marking your personal items can make it difficult for thieves to resell stolen goods, and will make it easier for your items to be identified and returned if found. Record the serial numbers of anything of value left behind.
  • Make a list of the property you are leaving at the cottage, and also a list of the property that will return to your cottage on your first or next trip there.
  • Identify who is your cottage property key holder for alarms, thefts, weather damage or animal problems; their contact info numbers; are they paid to check your cottage regularly or are they friends/neighbours? Your insurance company may give you a deduction if you have one.
  • Know your local OPP Detachment (1-888-310-1122) that patrols your cottage community.


Please share this information with other waterfront property owners!

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