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Winter Is Coming: Are Canadians skilled winter drivers?

Toronto, Ontario — 2020 has been a very unexpected year, and many Canadians are feeling the woes of 2020 even more as we enter the winter months.

Belairdirect, a Canadian company that offers car and home insurance, surveyed between Sept. 17 to 22, 2020, and discovered that only 45 percent of drivers feel prepared for winter driving.

Forty-five percent—a surprisingly low number considering winter comes every year like clockwork.

But thankfully, belairdirect developed a solution for people who want to improve their driving and so automerit was introduced in 2016 on the company app.

The tool is mainly used by Canadians who want to benefit from being a safe driver. And since COVID, fewer vehicles on the road results in more Canadian’s looking for ways to decrease their monthly car insurance.

“The tool works by allowing customers to be rewarded for their predicted driving behaviour and to receive a personalized insurance premium based on their actual behaviour,” according to Jeremy Green, vice-president of sales & operations at belairdirect. “It rewards safe driving and is only available through the belairdirect app.”

Green goes into more detail and explains how automerit helps individuals be in control of how much you pay for car insurance, by using the sensors on the smartphone. The sensors, said Green, is used to evaluate your driving habits and how much time you spend on the road.

There are three major categories the app uses to calculate if someone is a safe driver. The first category is speed and how your driving within the speed limits. Smoothness is second, how smooth are you at breaking and accelerating. And lastly, the app calculates the driver’s ability to stay focus on the road; for example, if you were on your phone, the app would calculate that as being driving distracted.

“It provides up to 25 percent in savings, and I will say, since COVID-19 started, people are looking to try and save further on their insurance usage and people want to save that 10 percent discount when they enroll in the application. The app rewards safe driving but it also rewards the fewer kilometres you drive,” explained Green.

He also explained how the app was designed to help people become better drivers through a safety score. Customers who consider themselves safe drivers may benefit from the program and the personalized insurance premium

“Automerit is designed to reward safe drivers. It has a focus on safety, with a personalized dashboard within it that shows the driver’s stats in real-time, and it gives you advice on how to improve your overall driving. Automerit continuously looks at your driving to provide a safety score and that score can produce a discount, up to 25 percent,” said Green. “if your someone who uses their phone while driving, exceed the speed limits, or is a hard breaker, the app is not going to be beneficial.”

According to Alexandra Morrione, a new member of automerit who says she loves the app.

“I always check to see how well my driving is and what needs improvement. One of the things it’s track is how much you use your phone while driving and my score was not good when I checked it, so it really gives you a good perspective on what needs improvement. I also like that it gives you a goal to reach every four to six months, and if you reach that goal, you get a discount on your insurance to make it lower, which is always great for a student that just graduated…trying to save money whenever I can,” she said.

As of recent, the automerit program is only available through the belairdirect app in Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta.

As Canadians enter the colder months, anxiety about winter weather and unpredictable driving conditions are at an all-time high.

Every year, less than half of Canadians feel prepared for winter driving conditions, the survey revealed. The survey revealed that 44 percent of all respondents admit to feeling nervous or anxious when driving in colder conditions. It also mentions that 3 out of 5 Canadians know to keep steering in their intended direction when asked what should be done if their vehicle begins to skid.

“The first snowfall tends to wreak havoc on Canadian roads each year, due to drivers often being ill-prepared for the winter season,”  “From rear-ending to a spike in single-car collisions due to spin out, these are some of the most common claims we see, particularly within a day of the first heavy snowfall. However, with a little preparation, including the very important step of switching to snow tires, Canadians will feel more confident and potentially avoid some of these common slip-ups.”

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