Time to install winter tires, prepare for winter driving

With temperatures now dipping below 7°C and snow in the forecast in some parts of the province, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is reminding motorists that the time has come to install winter tires and prepare for winter driving.

“Many people think winter tires are only important when driving in snowy or icy conditions but they also help with handling, manoeuvrability and braking in cold weather,” said Kaitlynn Furse, public relations manager, CAA SCO. “Now is the time to install winter tires, test your battery, service your brakes and ensure all regular car maintenance is up to date. Preparing now means fewer surprises during the winter months.”

A recent CAA survey showed that about two-thirds of members in South Central Ontario have purchased winter tires for their vehicles. Close to 90 per cent of members who own winter tires, have them installed between late October to late November.

CAA SCO winter checklist:

  • Test your battery and replace it before it fails.
  • Have your brakes checked and/or serviced.
  • Install a set of four matching winter tires for better traction.
  • Check your lights to ensure they are working properly.
  • Replace worn or torn windshield wipers.
  • Pack a winter emergency kit.

Getting a grip on winter tires:

  • Winter tires help reduce braking distance on cold, wet, ice and snow-covered roads.
  • Depending on the speed and the weather, the braking distance of winter tires can be up to 25 per cent shorter or two vehicle lengths compared to all-season tires.
  • Winter tires contain silica, a rubber compound that keeps tires flexible in cold temperatures and ensures excellent grip and braking on wet roads.
  • Winter tires should only be installed in sets of four. With only two winter tires, your vehicle’s handling, stability and braking are not fully optimized.
  • CAA Insurance policyholders save 5 per cent on their auto insurance premium when four winter tires are installed.
  • Drivers should check their tire pressure once a month. As the temperature drops so too does tire pressure. For every 5°C dip in the thermometer your tire pressure decreases 1 pound per square inch which results in reduced handling and control of your vehicle.

On an average winter day, CAA SCO dispatches service to approximately 3,000 members. During a snowstorm, the number of service calls usually doubles

About CAA South Central Ontario
For over a hundred years, CAA has been helping Canadians stay mobile, safe and protected. CAA South Central Ontario is one of nine auto clubs across Canada providing roadside assistance, travel, insurance services and Member savings for our over 2 million Members.

SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario

When the weather outside is frightful: safe driving tips for winter conditions

SGI: News Release – Nov. 1, 2017

Winter is coming, but winter driving conditions are already here. When roads are icy and swirling snow reduces visibility, it can be intimidating for drivers. Here are some tips to keep you and yours safe out on the roads this winter:

  • Clear snow from your vehicle, including headlights and taillights, and be sure your windows are completely defrosted before you drive.
  • Slow down. Posted speed limits are for ideal driving conditions. Adjust your speed accordingly when conditions are less than favourable, like when roads are icy or there is low visibility.
  • Leave more distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, so you have more time to stop. SGI recommends at least a four-second following distance.
  • Give yourself extra time to get to your destination so you’re not tempted to drive too fast for road conditions.
  • Turn on your headlights at night and any time visibility is poor, since some vehicles do not have taillights on when daytime running lights are being used.
  • Don’t use cruise control in slippery conditions.
  • Invest in a set of winter tires, which provide improved traction on winter road surfaces.
  • Buckle up. Every time.

Lastly, be sure to check the weather forecast and the Highway Hotline (1-888-335-7623) before you set off on your travels. If travel isn’t recommended, stay off the roads.

Driving in a blizzard

Keep an emergency travel kit in your vehicle in case you get stranded. The kit can include warm clothes, a shovel, blankets, a snow brush, ice scraper, booster cables, flashlight, flares, matches, a candle and a tin cup (to melt snow for water) and food like chocolate, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts or soup mixes that can be added to water.

Unfortunately, taking precautions against blizzard conditions doesn’t mean you can prevent them. If conditions deteriorate while you’re on the road, stop at the nearest town or rest area and wait until it’s safe to drive.

If you find yourself stranded with your vehicle:

  • Remain inside your vehicle because it will offer you protection from the harsh winter elements.
  • Run your engine sporadically to get some heat but be careful not to run out of gas. In that case, the blankets, candles and matches you packed in your roadside emergency kit will serve you well.
  • When running your engine, ensure that your vehicle’s exhaust pipe is clear of snow and ice. If it’s plugged, fumes will seep into your vehicle, resulting in possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If you find you need fresh air, your best option is to slightly lower the windows facing opposite the wind direction and open your vehicle’s heater vent.

Slow to 60

If an emergency vehicle (police, fire, ambulance) is stopped on the side of the road with its lights flashing, you must slow to 60 km/h, unless you’re driving on the opposite side of a divided highway. The same rule applies for tow trucks at the side of the highway with amber or amber and blue lights flashing.

Failing to slow down puts emergency workers and other motorists at risk of serious injury or even death. What’s more, you’ll face a fine of $140, plus $2 for every kilometre over the 60 km/h speed limit. If a driver is over 90 km/h, the fine increases to $4 for every kilometre over the 60 km/h speed limit.

If snow plows are working the roads, give them room to work, and stay back when you approach the mini-blizzard they create. They travel slower than the average vehicle, so be patient. Snow plows will pull over at regular intervals (every 10 km or so) to allow vehicles to pass.

Car seat safety

Have a little one travelling with you? SGI recommends you dress your child in thin, warm layers or a light jacket with a blanket overtop, instead of a bulky snowsuit or winter gear. If there is anything thick between the straps and the child – for example winter clothes, a bunting bag, a pad or blanket – the seat stops working like it’s designed and crash tested to work.

A good test to determine if the child’s winter jacket is too bulky is to buckle your child in the car seat with the jacket on. Then, take your child out of the car seat, take off their jacket, and see how loose the straps are. Remember that you should only be able to fit one finger between the strap and the child’s chest.

No matter what season it is, every driver and passenger should always wear a seatbelt, avoid driver fatigue, and never drive impaired. SGI reminds drivers to refrain from habits that cause distracted driving like using a hand-held cellphone, eating or grooming.

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.

Infographic: http://www.multivu.com/players/English/8209251-state-farm-wildlife

To find out more about how State Farm works to improve road safety in Canada, please visit www.statefarm.ca/autosafety

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 www.tirf.ca.

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 www.statefarm.ca, join us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/statefarmcanada – or follow us on Twitter – www.twitter.com/StateFarmCanada.

*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 wildliferoadsharing.tirf.ca and make no warranties or representations about the contents, products or services offered on wildliferoadsharing.tirf.ca.

®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, http://wildliferoadsharing.tirf.ca/.

SOURCE State Farm

#DoNotRiskIt – Throughout November, police will be on the lookout for suspended drivers and unregistered vehicles.

Read more

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.

Links:

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.

 

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