Driving in a winter wonderland? No thanks, say Canadian women

- TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll reveals the majority of Canadian women aren't looking to brave the winter elements behind the wheel -

TORONTO, Nov. 25 /CNW/ - When it comes to winter driving conditions, only 45% of Canadian women prefer to be in the driver's seat compared to 85% of men, according to the TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll. Women are also significantly more anxious about winter driving than men (62% vs. 42%), despite preparing themselves more for winter road conditions. As a whole, 65% of Canadians prefer to be the driver instead of a passenger, yet more than half of Canadians (52%) admit they are more anxious driving in winter conditions.

"Winter driving can be challenging for even the most experienced and confident drivers. It's not surprising that 1 in 5 Canadians try to avoid the roads altogether during this season," says Henry Blumenthal, Vice President and Chief Underwriter, TD Insurance. "Preparing properly for the winter driving season is like putting on your seat belt - it should be something we do automatically, especially since our winter weather is so unpredictable."

As the Boy Scouts say, be prepared

Ninety-two percent of Canadians said they drive slower in snowy or icy conditions, 85% give themselves extra time to get to destinations and 81% say they check the weather and road conditions before leaving. Four percent of Canadians said they don't do anything differently to prepare for winter driving.

Women are more prepared than men with 85% of them checking weather and road conditions before heading out compared to 56% of men and 62% of women have snow tires (vs. 56% of men).

Driving Canadians crazy

Canadians have their share of pet peeves when it comes to winter driving. Thirty-five percent said their biggest annoyance is drivers who follow too closely behind their car, 31% said drivers who are going too fast and 21% said drivers who don't brush the snow off their car. Interestingly, 4% said drivers who are too slow.

"Our survey also revealed that only 5% of Canadians have taken a winter driving course. Completing a course is a great way to keep yourself and others safe in winter conditions and it can also save you money on your insurance premiums," says Blumenthal.

A few words from the wise

RoadSafetyFirst.com - an online resource from TD Insurance dedicated to road safety - offers articles on a variety of topics related to road safety, an RSS feed with the latest news, road conditions and weather, and tips for safe driving, including:

    1.  Leave some room. It takes a greater distance to stop on ice and snow.
        Maintain a safe distance with the car in front - even when at a stop
        sign or light.

    2.  Slow down. Quick lane changes or braking can lead to skidding and
        possibly losing control of the vehicle.

    3.  Be prepared before heading out. Put together a winter driving kit to
        help handle on-the-road emergencies. Kits could include a snow shovel
        and brush, booster cables, a candle, a blanket and kitty litter.

    4.  Keep it clear. Clear all the ice and snow off your vehicle and check
        that headlights, turn signals and tail lights are also clear before
        getting on the road. Frosty windows may reduce visibility and chunks
        of ice or snow blowing off a car in motion can be hazardous to other

    5.  Speak to your insurer. While preparing for the season, it's a good
        time to call your insurer and review your auto insurance policy.

    Other interesting findings

    -   Nearly 9 in 10 Canadians (88%) consider themselves to be good winter
        drivers. Men consider themselves to be good winter drivers
        significantly more than women (94% vs. 82%)
    -   Canadians aged 55+ are significantly more likely to pack an emergency
        kit in their car (53% vs. 41%), check weather and road conditions
        before leaving (88% vs. 77%) and leave extra travel time to get to
        destinations (92% vs. 81%) than Canadians aged 18 - 54
    -   Two-thirds of Canadians (65%) feel snow tires should be mandatory in
        the winter months

For more information on auto insurance or for a free quote, visit www.tdinsurance.com or call 1-800-338-0218.

About the TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll

From November 10 to November 11, 2009, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted the TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll among 1,027 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error - which measures sampling variability - is +/- 3.1%. The results of the online survey have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Canada.

About TD Insurance

The TD Insurance brand is a part of TD Bank Financial Group. The wide range of TD Insurance products help protect clients from the 'accidents of life' including credit protection, life, health, travel, home and auto insurance. With more than three million clients, TD Insurance authorized products and services are available through a network of more than 1,000 TD Canada Trust branches, the Internet and telephone. The TD Insurance brand, through its TD Insurance Credit Protection and TD Insurance Life and Health brands, is the number one provider of critical illness insurance and direct life and health premium origination in Canada. And through its TD Insurance Meloche Monnex and TD Insurance Home and Auto brands, is the largest direct-response insurance group in the country. For more information, visit www.tdinsurance.com.

SOURCE TD Insurance

For further information: For further information: Jacqueline Burns, TD Bank Financial Group, (416) 308-0177, jacqueline.burns@td.com; Karen McCullough, Anne Locke, Paradigm Public Relations, (416) 203-2223, kmccullough@paradigmpr.ca, alocke@paradigmpr.ca

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