RSA Canada’s 9 Things You Should Do For Safer Winter Driving

Press Relase:

TORONTO, Nov. 22, 2016 – With winter just a few weeks away, RSA Canada, a leading general home and auto insurer, is urging drivers to exercise more caution on the road than normal.

The warning comes as Canadians prepare for an extreme winter, according to the Canadian Farmers’ Almanac.

“Extremely cold temperatures, intense snow storms and blizzard conditions have been forecast for the months ahead, so now is the time to get prepared,” RSA Canada spokesperson Brodie Bott says.

“The best defense against this kind of weather is to have a strong offense and plan ahead so you can mitigate any potential danger to you and your loved ones. Whether you’re planning to travel this holiday season or just commuting to and from work, drivers will need to take extra precaution when on the road, and give themselves additional time to get to their destination.”

“Bad weather doesn’t cause accidents, but bad driving habits do,” Bott says.

Check out RSA Canada’s top winter driving tips to help you and your family stay safe:

  • Use extreme caution when driving – it’s not how long it takes, but that you arrive safely.
  • Allow yourself at least three times the normal stopping distance.
  • Have the car battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
  • Be proactive and have your winter tires put on before the first snowfall. Winter tires are important for safe driving.
  • Make sure to inform friends and family of your driving route. In case you’re running late, people will know where you are.
  • Have your cellphone with you at all times and make sure that you have a charger or an extra battery on hand. Don’t use your phone while driving.
  • During winter, check your tire pressure weekly.
  • If the police or a civil authority has closed a road or a highway, it is for your own safety.  Do not attempt to drive on it.
  • Have an emergency travel kit ready in your vehicle at all times. Kit contents should include:
    • Blanket and extra clothing – includes hats, gloves and boots;
    • Flashlight and batteries, extra fully-charged cell phone or battery;
    • First aid kit;
    • Map; and
    • Ice scraper and/or snow brush.

For more information visit rsagroup.ca, and get social with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About RSA
With a 300 year heritage, RSA is one of the world’s leading multinational quoted insurance groups. Focusing on general insurance, RSA’s core markets are the UK and Ireland, Scandinavia and Canada with the capability to write business across the globe. We have around 14,000 employees across the core business and, in 2015, our net written premiums were £6.8 billion.

About Johnson
Johnson Inc. is a licensed insurance agency in Alberta. Morgex Insurance is a division of Johnson Inc. Servus Insurance Services | Home and Auto, a division of Johnson Inc., is not a subsidiary of Servus Credit Union, it is a tradestyle of Johnson Inc.used under license from Servus Credit Union. JB Insurance Services is a trade name of Johnson Inc. Home and auto insurance is available through Johnson Inc., a licensed insurance intermediary in AB. Policies are primarily underwritten by Unifund Assurance Company (Unifund). Unifund and Johnson Inc. share common ownership.

About RSA Canada
RSA Canada includes Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada (www.rsagroup.ca), The Johnson Corporation and its affiliates (www.johnson.ca), RSA Travel Insurance Inc. (www.rsatravelinsurance.ca) which operates as RSA Travel Insurance Agency in British Columbia, Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company (www.cns.ca), Western Assurance Company (www.westernassurance.ca), Ascentus Insurance Ltd., and Quebec Assurance Company.

©2016 Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved. RSA, RSA & Design and related words and logos are trademarks and the property of RSA Insurance Group plc, licensed for use by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. RSA is a trade name of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada.

SOURCE RSA Canada

BCAA survey – BC motorists admit to being Canada’s worst winter drivers

BCAA survey – BC motorists admit to being Canada’s worst winter drivers

Drivers overplay their skills, underestimate weather conditions and downplay risks

B.C. motorists feel pretty good about their winter driving skills heading into what the World Meteorological Organization predicts will be a colder and stormier season across the province. Despite the majority admitting to being the worst winter drivers in the nation in a new BCAA survey conducted by Insights West, B.C. drivers are taking little action to prepare for bad weather. BCAA provides drivers with safety tips to prepare their vehicle and adjust driving habits for winter.

Almost one in three (32%) B.C. motorists say there’s no need for them to prepare for winter driving because they consider themselves to be a good driver. One third (31%) say they won’t prepare until it actually snows, while one third (31%) don’t believe B.C. is in store for a bad winter.

“Call it overconfidence or denial but, based on our data and in my experience, too many British Columbians, especially in the Lower Mainland, don’t think about winter driving until it’s too late,” says Stu Miller, BCAA senior manager of automotive operations.

Miller, who has worked in the business for 20 years, says he sees it every season. “Winter weather can create unpredictable road conditions anywhere and at any time, which can turn out to be challenging for even the most experienced driver.”

The survey shows that drivers may be taking risks by not being honest with themselves about their driving skills or comfort level when it comes to winter driving. According to the study’s results, B.C. drivers are confident but at the same time nervous driving in bad conditions, exposing a contradiction in drivers’ self-assessments. Almost two thirds (64%) claim they are experienced but nervous winter drivers and almost half (45%) say they’re experienced drivers but bad at driving in winter conditions.

A concern for BCAA is that 47 per cent reveal that they’re nervous about driving in snow but drive anyway—one third even admit to “freaking out a bit” when having to drive in snow. Over 60 per cent will not stay off the roads in bad conditions.

For 71 per cent of B.C. drivers, winter driving is not a concern because they believe it “doesn’t snow much where they live.” But for Miller, snow is only part of the challenge. “Sleet, icy roads, heavy rainfall, cold temperatures and more hours of darkness—this is a season of weather hazards at every turn and with half of drivers not even checking the weather before heading out, it’s concerning,” says Miller.

One piece of good news in Miller’s eyes is that 68 per cent think all B.C. drivers should use winter tires, though only 29 per cent are prepared with a winter roadside emergency kit, “so we have work to do,” says Miller.

With 64 per cent spending up to 10 hours and 32 per cent up to 30 hours a week behind the wheel, Miller wants drivers to be more aware of their driving skills and comfort levels when it comes to driving in any winter weather conditions. He also stresses that motorists should have other transportation options already planned in case they’re unable to drive safely in winter conditions.

According to BCAA, when harsh winter weather hits, the number of calls from across the province into the organization’s roadside assistance call centre can increase between 40 to 60 per cent on certain days. In the Metro Vancouver area, roadside assistance call volumes during snowy or frigid weather can double.

BCAA offers some easy tips to help drivers stay safe on the roads this winter:

1.       Prepare your car so it endures weather conditions and performs well so you can drive safely.

  • Get a complete vehicle check-up before cold weather sets in.
  • Carry a winter driving emergency kit and chains in your car.

2.       Adjust your driving behaviours to match the weather conditions.

  • Take precautions before and while you drive—clear snow and ice from windows and lights, defog all windows before you head out, drive at slower speeds, leave more room between you and the car ahead and use turn signals well in advance.
  • Check road and weather conditions before you head out.

3.       Make safety your priority

  • Don’t underestimate the impact all winter conditions can have on your car and ability to drive safely.
  • Be honest about your driving skills and comfort levels—don’t drive in conditions when you don’t have the skills or if you’re too nervous.
  • Avoid the temptation to drive when you shouldn’t by having other transportation options already planned.

For more information and tips on how to prepare for winter driving, visit bcaa.com/winterdriving

About the survey
Results are based on an online study conducted from October 28 to October 30, 2016, among 728 adult residents of British Columbiawho have a valid driver’s license and drive at least one hour a week. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/ 3.7 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

About BCAA
The most trusted organization in British Columbia by its Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 B.C. households with industry-leading products including home, auto and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and BCAA Auto Service Centres. BCAA has ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Home Insurers in Western Canada by J.D. Power five years in a row (2012-2016). With more than 100,000 partners worldwide, BCAA’s 840,000 Members can save over $1,000 per year on insurance and items they use every day. To learn more about how a BCAA Membership is rewarding, please visit bcaa.com.

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association

What Are My Duties as a Driver?

Last week we looked at what you should be entitled to expect as a driver on B.C.’s highways. It only seems fair that we should examine what your duties as a driver are this week. As before, if I miss or misstate any of them, you are welcome to e-mail duties@drivesmartbc.ca and express your opinion.

It’s probably not something that you would consider first, but you have a general duty of care to all other road users. You must not collide with them or do something that causes them to have a collision or otherwise put them in danger. Supplementing common law, the Motor Vehicle Act makes it an offence to drive without due care and attention or to drive without reasonable consideration for others.

If you are involved in a crash, whether as the driver, operator or person in charge of a vehicle, you must stop, render assistance and provide information about yourself, the owner of the vehicle and it’s licence and insurance particulars to anyone suffering a loss.

You must also provide this information to a witness if they request it.

Before you drive, you must be licenced for the operation of the vehicle you intend to use. It is also up to you to make sure that the vehicle has a valid licence, insurance and is mechanically fit. If required to, you must be able to demonstrate all of these things to the police.

If you are impaired by drugs or alcohol, physical or mental infirmity, fatigue or anything else that would prevent you from driving safely, you must not drive. If you become this way while driving, you are expected to stop until you can become safe again or turn the duty over to someone qualified to assume it.

If your health or driving skills deteriorate, you must take steps to compensate for or regain them. Minimum standards must be met throughout your driving career.

When you drive, you must obey all of the rules of the road. All the time. Not just when it is convenient for you to do so.

It is also your responsibility to know what these rules are. If you ever face the courts to be called to account for your actions as a driver excuses such as “I didn’t know” or “Someone should have told me” will not be accepted.

Responsible drivers will choose to do something to maintain or improve their skills and knowledge over time. If you find it difficult to do this on your own, taking instruction from a driving school is probably your best choice.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, don’t bring a bad attitude to the driver’s seat! Driving is not all about ME, it’s all about US. Sharing and co-operation are concepts that should be foremost in our minds when we are behind the wheel.

Oh, and if you are a cyclist or pedestrian, most of this applies to you too. ALL road users have a duty to share, co-operate and be safe.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

Car booster seats for kids are getting better, study says

Companies that make child booster seats for vehicles are getting better at designing them to protect kids, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said Thursday.

Of the 53 new booster seats IIHS tested, 48 received the non-profit’s highest rating. Two models of Cosco booster seats, made by Canadian company Dorel Juvenile, were not recommended. When IIHS first began rating booster seats about eight years ago, only a quarter of seats earned the highest rating.

“Parents looking for a safe option for kids who have outgrown seats with built-in harnesses have more choices than ever,” said Jessica Jermakian, a senior research engineer at IIHS.

Booster seats are made for children between 4 and 8 years old who have outgrown their car seats. The boosters help seat belts fit better on children. Kids who sit on the booster seats are 45 per cent less likely to be injured in a crash compared to just using seat belts alone, IIHS said. In 48 states and Washington, D.C., booster seats are required by law, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The two models that were not recommended by IIHS are the Cosco Easy Elite and the Cosco Highback 2-in-1 DX, both of which are made by Dorel Juvenile. The IIHS said Dorel Juvenile designed seven other boosters that received its highest rating.

“It’s disappointing that they would introduce boosters that don’t do their job when they clearly know how to do it right,” Jermakian said.

Dorel Juvenile said in a statement that those two booster seats provide “excellent protection” and said it conducts about 5,000 crash tests each year on its products.

 

Parking Lots are Hazardous Places

backing-up-thumbnailI had a bit of a scare the other day when I tried to back out of a space in a busy parking lot. There was a large van beside me blocking my view so I scanned as completely as I could and began to let up on the clutch. No sooner had I started to roll than a woman paying more attention to her smart phone than where she was walking appeared from behind the van. We both slammed on the brakes and after looking at each other for a moment, she continued on her way.

I wondered just how dangerous parking lots were, so I asked about it and ICBC provided me with data for the five year period from 2011 to 2015. During that time there was an average of 2 deaths, 5,900 injuries and 120,000 property damage incidents each year. Parking lots do appear to be hazardous places!

Returning to my near miss with the pedestrian it occurs to me that most parking lots are designed only with vehicles in mind. Even then, the object seems to be to get as many vehicles into the lot as possible, crowding them together. The lane between lines of vehicles seem to be narrower as well.

There are usually no safe places to exclude the path of pedestrians from the path of vehicles.

Would it not be better to have a sidewalk with a row of parking on either side of it? You could park and walk safely between the rows of vehicles to and from the businesses. Vehicles would be prevented from crossing the level sidewalk area by curbs and the curbs would have gaps in them to allow you to move the shopping cart to your vehicle’s side doors.

I imagine that the biggest drawback to this design would be the difficulty with snow removal.

For my part, there were at least two things that I could have done to make this safer for the pedestrians. Backing into the parking spot would have afforded a better view when I tried to leave it and a gentle tap or two on the horn just before I moved would likely have called attention to me too.

The woman should not have been intent on her phone while walking along the edge of the corridor between vehicles. She could instead have been watching for illuminated backup lights that would tell her she needed to make eye contact with the driver before she walked behind the vehicle displaying them.

What really scares me is the possibility that the pedestrian could be a child that was a bit ahead of their parent. Since I don’t have a backup camera, it’s possible that they would not be taller than the top of my tailgate and I could drive over them without knowing anything was wrong until I felt the bump. That’s far too late.

From now on, I’m taking my own advice. If I can’t pull through the spaces to be nose out, I will be backing into my parking spot. There is a much smaller chance of colliding with something backing in than there will be when backing out.

Not walking the walk: 4 out of 10 Canadians admit to distracted walking

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