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Winter Driving Tips

10 Winter Car Maintenance and Driving Tips:

1. Check Your Lights

Winter weather can cause limited visibility while driving and lead to accidents. Regularly ensure your indicators, brake lights, front and rear lights are in working condition. Also clean any accumulated ice and road grime on the lenses periodically.

2. Check Tire Pressure

Tire pressure should be checked at least once per month during the winter. Every 5°C change in temperature results in about a 7 kPa (1 psi) change in tire pressure. Properly inflated tires last longer and will improve your car’s fuel efficiency.

3. Keep the Car Clean

Road dirt, snow sludge and salt can cause limited visibility and exterior corrosion. Protect your car’s exterior by visiting the car wash when you start to see a build up of sludge. But be mindful of properly drying the windshield wipers, door/trunk seals and locks to avoid freezing them shut.

4. Don’t Let Your Gas Drop Below Half

Limit condensation from forming on the walls of your gas tank by keeping it at least half full. Cold temperatures can cause condensation. Once that water drips to the the bottom of the tank, it can freeze your gas line and block the flow of gas to the engine.

5. Regularly Top up Your Windshield Washer Fluid

You can quickly go through windshield washer fluid on messy, snowy days. Keep the tank full and have an extra jug on hand in the trunk in case you run out.

6. Keep an Emergency Kit Handy

Be prepared for any emergency in unpredictable weather by keeping a well-stocked winter emergency kit in your car equipped with items like a first aid kit, a flash light, a small shovel or snow brush, and a blanket. Go through your kit regularly and replace any items that are worn or have expired.

7. Avoid the Excessive Warm-Up

The best way to warm up your car’s engine is to drive, gently, at the beginning of your trip. Idling for more than a few minutes is generally unnecessary and wastes gas.

8. Make Sure You Can See: Clear the Snow off Your Car

Take the time to properly clear your car’s windows and lights of snow that may have accumulated. Or, risk getting a ticket. No person shall drive a motor vehicle upon a highway, (a) unless the windshield and the windows on either side of the compartment containing the steering wheel are in such a condition as to afford the driver a clear view to the front and side of the motor vehicle; and (b) unless the rear window is in such a condition as to afford the driver a clear view to the rear of the motor vehicle.”

9. Avoid Using Cruise Control

Never use your cruise control on wet, snowy or icy roads. If you hydroplane or skid, your tires will spin as your car accelerates to maintain its speed, resulting in the potential loss of control.

10. Double the Two-Second Rule

The two-second rule is not an all-season rule. The two-second rule should be doubled during the winter to give you plenty of space between you and the person ahead.

**Information derived from online sources.

Long Weekend Safe Driving Tips

With a three-day weekend, there are two things you can count on long weekend: traffic (and lots of it) as families hit the road to dine together, and a heavy police presence on the roads watching out for drivers who are impaired, distracted, behaving aggressively, or not wearing their seat belts.

Top up your car’s windshield wiper fluid, check all tires properly and remember to travel with an emergency roadsidsafety kit.

No matter where you’re travelling this weekend, your car insurance coverage will follow you should something go wrong. Ensure you have your driver’s license, insurance documents, ownership and registration with you.

If there’s rain in the forecast (or worse), adjust your driving to fit the conditions. Foul weather and poor visibility requires you to drive at a slower speed than what’s posted. Posted speed limits designate the fastest speed at which you can safely travel in optimal road conditions. When roads—and the weather—are not optimal, slow down.

Major highways are everyone’s route of choice; try some of the smaller highways. In addition to less traffic, you’ll also be treated to some beautiful scenery as the leaves are beginning to change color.


5. Only head out on the long drive when you’re well rested.

6. Listen to traffic reports before you leave and while on the road.

7. Buckle up and make sure everyone in the car does too.

8. If there is a collision on route, give a good space to emergency vehicles, police, ambulance, fire trucks, or tow trucks with flashing lights on. 

9. Be patient because there will likely be traffic. Driving aggressively—speeding and tailgating—     will only improve your chances of, at best, getting a ticket and, at worst, causing a collision.

10. Don’t drive distracted. Put your phones on “Do Not Disturb”.

11. Budget time on your road trip for at least one rest stop to stretch your legs.

12. Leave a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you.

13. Always signal before you change lanes.

14. Don’t drive while alcohol or drug impaired. 


**Information derived from online sources.

Fuel Efficient Driving Tips

That way you can avoid having to backtrack or criss-cross the city. Try to avoid several short trips; instead, combine running all your errands into one outing.

Studies have shown that idling for 10 minutes uses about a quarter litre of gas.

Follow your vehicle’s maintenance schedule. Poorly maintained vehicles can cost the equivalent of up to 15¢ more per litre on fuel.

Keep your tires inflated properly and use the recommended motor oil for your vehicle; both will ensure your car operates at its best and most fuel efficient level.

For every 100 additional pounds you store in your car, you are lowering the mileage you get per tank by 1-2 per cent. All that junk in your trunk is costing you gas money.

A roof rack will affect your car’s aerodynamics and will decrease your car’s fuel efficiency, which is a real drag to your wallet.

While a remote starter is convenient, it can result in needless idling and wasted fuel if you start your car too early.

Look at the traffic as far ahead as possible in order to avoid unnecessary stopping and starting within the flow of traffic. Also, if possible, alter your commute time to avoid sitting in traffic. Leaving an hour earlier or later can make a huge difference.

At 120 km/h, a vehicle uses about 20 per cent more fuel than at 100 km/h. Also, try and maintain a steady speed when driving. Frequently varying your speed can really affect your tank and lead to a higher consumption of fuel. Accelerate gently and coast to decelerate. The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you consume. The same goes for braking. In fact, jackrabbit starts and stops can increase your fuel consumption by up to 40 per cent.

**Information derived from online sources.

Get Your Car Ready For Winter

Make sure you and your vehicle are ready for the winter season ahead. And while it may seem like it’s too soon to be thinking about winter, a little car care today will go a long way toward improving the safety and dependability of your vehicle before the snow flies.

Take your vehicle in for a tune-up and ask your mechanic to look it over to make sure that all systems are functioning and in good repair.

It’s time to put your kit for emergency into the trunk. Ideally, your kit should include first aid supplies, warm blankets, a few non-perishable food items, and items like flashlights, a folding shovel and sand or cat litter for traction. Having a kit with these basics on hand can keep a minor roadside problem from becoming a major one—and can also help in a true

Along with your emergency kit, put your ice scraper and brush in the trunk too so you have it accessible when the time comes.

Replace worn wiper blades and top up your windshield washer solvent. With autumn comes precipitation, and you’ll be happy you can see clearly.

Cold temperatures can turn a small ding in your windshield into a major crack, so, if you’ve got a chip in your windshield, it is best to get it fixed now.

With any change of season, it’s not uncommon for there to be a considerable swing in the temperature, which can have a direct impact on your tire’s pressure levels. Please check the air pressure in your tires at least once a month, to ensure they’re properly inflated.

The fall is the ideal time to install winter tires if you change them seasonally, or consider buying
them if you don’t. Winter tires provide your car with more traction and handle freezing temperatures better than all-season or summer tires. They’ll help you keep control of your car and stop effectively.


**Information derived from online sources.

New Ontario Driving Laws

In an effort to ensure Ontario’s roads and highways are safer, the new road rules have a common theme: respecting other people’s need for space to ensure their safety. Drivers are now required to:

1. Give Cyclists Some Room
When passing cyclists, drivers must maintain a minimum distance of one metre (approximately three feet) where possible. The fine will be $110 (this includes the set fine, Victim Fine Surcharge, and court costs) and two demerit points. If you fail to give a cyclist the space needed in a designated community safety zone, the fine will be even greater at $180 and two demerit points.

2. Slow Down and Move Over for Tow Trucks 
Since 2003, drivers have been expected to slow down and move over for police and other first responders when stopped at the side of the road with their flashers on. The law now also applies to tow truck drivers as well. Fines will start at $490.

3. Increased Traffic Fines
Along with new road rules, the Act also introduced new penalties of existing laws to encourage compliance.

  • Increased fines for distracted driving
    Fines will increase to a minimum of $490 along with three demerit points. Novice drivers will be looking at a minumum 30-day licence suspension.
  • Increased fines for “dooring” a cyclist
    Fines will start at $365 with three demerit points.
  • Increased fines for cyclists with improper lighting
    Once a $20 fine, the new fines will be $110

**Information derived from online sources.

Distracted Driving Penalities

Ontario has passed legislation increasing fines for distracted drivers from a range of $60 – $500 up to $300 – $1,000, plus three demerit points upon conviction.

Also, novice drivers convicted of distracted driving will now face the following licence suspensions:

First conviction: 30 day suspension
Second conviction: 90 day suspension
Third conviction: licence cancellation. Driver must return to the start of Ontario’s graduated licensing program

The move marks an effort for the province to “reduce collisions, injuries and fatalities on Ontario’s roads” and makes Ontario’s penalties the toughest in the country. The Ontario Provincial Police report that distracted driving is the number one killer on our roads, causing more deaths than impaired driving and speeding.

If distracted driving is found to have played a role in a collision, drivers can be charged with careless driving as well. Put the phone down to keep your rates low and the roads safe. A phone call or text is not worth becoming a statistic.


**Information derived from online sources.

Tips For Safe Driving

1. Focus

Distracted driving is the number one killer on the roads and has played a role in almost 25 per cent of all road fatalities in Ontario so far in 2015, according to the Ontario Provincial Police. Drivers can enhance their focus by leaving their phones alone and turning off notifications to reduce temptation. If it’s too tempting, throw your phone in your trunk or glove box. A text is not worth the cost of a life.

2. Always Play the “Eye-Spy” Game

Keep your eyes open for the little guys – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Remember
to give them space, to slow down when making turns, and remain cautious even after you’ve stopped your car. Always check over your shoulder, especially before opening your car door. You don’t want to give anyone the infamous door prize, which can be fatal.

3. Stay Calm and Courteous

Everyone has somewhere to be. Be patient and calm when behind the wheel.

4. Keep Speed in Check

You have the power to influence other drivers, whether you’re driving too fast or too slow, both of which can put drivers and vulnerable road users at risk. Sticking to the speed limit can save a life. One study showed that a pedestrian hit by a driver doing 40 km/h has a 25 per cent chance of dying, which increased to 85 per cent at 60 km/h.

5. Leave Lots of Space, Especially Around Cyclists

It takes way less time to brake on two wheels than it does on four, so always leave enough space to safely stop if someone on two wheels is in front of you. When you’re passing a cyclist be sure to slow down and leave a minimum of one meter between you. If possible, it’s recommend you change lanes. If not, be sure to maintain a safe distance, stay back and only pass when it’s safe for you and the cyclist.


**Information derived from online sources.

Tips to Avoid Traffic Tickets

Traffic tickets are one of the most common reasons for increased insurance rates, and the common driving habits that result in getting one are more than just an expensive behaviour – they are also dangerous. Most of the common traffic tickets are very easy to avoid with a little extra caution and attention while behind the wheel. By dropping these bad driving habits, drivers can avoid expensive increases on insurance premiums as well as fines, and reduce the likelihood of an accident as well.

1. Speeding

This all-too-common traffic violation earns a lot of drivers a ticket each year, and is among the most common reasons for a premium increase. Speeding is a very dangerous activity, and is often a factor in crashes. It can also increase the severity of a crash.

Obeying the speed limit is the simplest way to avoid getting a speeding ticket. Make sure to be aware of changes in speed limits, especially when on a highway entering a town or when driving through a residential area. Make it a habit to stay within the speed limit at all times, and to keep an eye on the speedometer.

2. Running Red Lights or Stop Signs

Everyone is in a hurry these days, but going through a red light or stop sign is not a good way to get there faster. A ticket for running a red light or stop sign may result in a premium increase and is also a high risk for an accident – which will also increase insurance

Stop fully at stop signs, and pay attention when approaching an intersection. Slow down when a green light turns amber. Resisting the urge to speed up on an amber light is hard, but it can save lives and lower insurance rates.

3. Improper Turns

This is one of those tickets that aren’t as well known, and yet it’s very common. There are multiple ways to get this ticket, including turning from the wrong lane, and it can result in both a ticket and an insurance increase as well as a potential accident.

Always obey the lane regulations and turn safely and carefully. Use turn signals properly and allow other drivers to respond appropriately and avoid accidents.

4. Not Wearing Seatbelt

Whether or not this very common ticket will affect insurance rates depends on the company, but it will definitely result in a very big fine. Every province in Canada has made it illegal to drive without a seatbelt. And it’s not just the driver; everyone in the car must wear a seatbelt, and the driver can be held responsible for minors who are not buckled up.

Wear a seatbelt every time, and make sure everyone in the car does the same. It keeps everyone safe and avoids a ticket, too.

5. Other Common Tickets and Insurance

Most of the common tickets can be avoided, but once they are on a driver’s record insurance rates can be affected for three years from the date that you are convicted or plead guilty-not from the date that you got the ticket.Every company rates a little differently; even drivers with tickets can often find a better rate.

It’s best to work on good driving habits to keep insurance rates low, but once that ticket is earned shopping around can help to mitigate the premium costs.


**Information derived from online sources.

Common Insurance Myths

When it comes to insurance there are a variety of types and two of the most common are auto insurance and home insurance. But as familiar as they are, there are also quite a few common myths associated with them and some of these myths could be costing you money.

Let’s debunk them and hopefully save you money along the way.

Auto Insurance Myths:

It’s time to set the record straight on some of the most common auto insurance myths.

  • Myth: Red cars cost more to insure than any other colour.
  • Fact: The colour of your car does not impact your insurance rate.
  • Myth: If a friend drives my car and causes an accident, it won’t affect my car insurance rate.
  • Fact: When you lend a car to somebody, you are lending insurance as well. It’s the insurance policy taken out by the owner of the vehicle that will handle any accidents that might occur.
  • Myth: My postal code does not affect my car insurance rate.
  • Fact: Each postal code has its own risk level in terms of theft and accident statistics, therefore some areas are more expensive than others to be insured in.
  • Myth: My loyalty discount offsets any savings I would get by changing insurance companies.
  • Fact: Changing insurance companies would mean losing your discount but that doesn’t mean you’re getting the best rate available. Shop around because sometimes the savings realized by switching providers outweighs the loyalty discounts you have, if you have any.
  • Myth: Coupes are more expensive to insure than sedans.
  • Fact: Just because it’s sporty, doesn’t mean it’s more expensive to insure. What’s important are things like the likelihood it’ll be stolen, its repair costs, and how well it protects everyone in the car from injury in a collision.


**Information derived from online sources.