Insurance Bureau of Canada urges Ontarians to be prepared and drive safely during stormy winter weather

TORONTO, Feb. 2 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) urges drivers in southern Ontario to plan ahead and drive with caution in blizzard conditions that are hitting the region today.

"Winter storms can cause treacherous driving conditions," said Ralph Palumbo, Vice-President, Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada. "Check road condition reports before you decide to drive during a storm. If you must drive in bad weather, make sure your vehicle is fully maintained, pack a winter survival kit and proceed with caution."

IBC offers these tips on driving in stormy winter weather.

Before you head out:

  • Check the tires and tire pressure.
  • Make sure wipers are in good condition and fill up windshield washer fluid.
  • Make sure heater/defroster is working.
  • Clear all snow from the hood, roof, windows, mirrors and lights.
  • Keep fuel tank at least half full.
  • Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle. Include such items as a shovel, sand, tow chain, warning light, booster cables, ice scraper and brush, flashlight, first aid kit, extra clothing and footwear, blankets, emergency food and matches.
  • Bring a cellphone but do not use it while driving.
  • Allow extra time to get to your destination.

On the road:

  • If visibility becomes poor, turn on your emergency flashers to alert other drivers. Find a place to pull off the road safely as soon as possible. If available, stop at a rest area. If the side of the road is your only option, pull off as far as you can.
  • Try to keep to the main roads.
  • Adjust your speed to the road conditions.
  • Keep extra space between your vehicle and others and avoid passing.
  • Keep calm.

Even after following all safety precautions, accidents sometimes happen. If you get into an accident, always call the police if someone is hurt or if there is significant property damage. If no one is hurt, follow these steps:

  • Move your car to the side of the road, out of traffic, if it is safe to do so. If not, turn on your hazard lights or use cones, warning triangles or flares.
  • Jot down the details about the accident including how, where and when it happened.
  • Get the contact information (names, addresses, phone numbers) of the registered owners of all cars involved, and other passengers and witnesses.
  • Get insurance information from all drivers involved in the accident, including driver's licence and plate numbers, and the names of their insurance companies and brokers.
  • Take a picture with your cellphone or draw sketch of the accident if possible.
  • Protect your car from further loss or damage.

For further safety tips and insurance information, visit www.ibc.ca.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 114,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $40 billion.

To view media releases and information, visit the media section of IBC's website at www.ibc.ca.

SOURCE INSURANCE BUREAU OF CANADA

For further information:

Mark Klein at 416-362-2031 ext. 4387

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