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Whether it is whiteout conditions from falling snow, mechanical problems due to extreme low temperatures or black ice slicking the city streets, there are a lot of dangers that are associated with winter driving. Even if we are able to drive well in snowy conditions, we often have little control over the actions of other drivers and the elements.

Winter driving is, nevertheless, a fact of life in Canada, so it is important that we all take steps to stay safe on the roads. One of the first steps to doing this is making sure that you have auto insurance in Edmonton. You can also take steps to increase winter driving safety by preparing your vehicle for winter, preparing for emergencies, reducing potential dangers while driving, and ensuring that your car insurance policy satisfies your needs as a driver.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter

One of the first steps you can take happens long before the first snowfall. Consider having your vehicle thoroughly examined by an auto mechanic and have snow tires installed. This appointment should include checking the battery, ignition, brakes, spark plugs, and tire depth and pressure. Ensure that your tire valves have caps to keep out ice or snow. Get windshield protection by installing winter wiper blades and filling up your windshield-washer fluids. Also ensure that you regularly top up antifreeze and transmission and brake fluids as needed to ensure your vehicle is in good working order when the snow begins to fly.

Emergency Planning

Just as we can take steps to prepare the vehicle for winter, we can also prepare ourselves for emergency situations, including when there are quick changes in driving conditions.

A car emergency kit should always be carried with you in your vehicle. That kit should include supplies for yourself and your car, such as a snow brush, ice scraper, snow shovel, blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, hazard markers or flares, a candle and matches, granola bars or other non-perishable high energy food. You should also have the contact information for road side assistance, such as from CAA or a local towing company, booster cables, sand or salt or regular cat litter, and you may want to have windshield-washer fluid and antifreeze, as well as a toolkit.

In case of emergency, it is important that someone know where you are at all times. Bring a cellphone with you so that you can let your loved ones know what occurred, where you are and contact emergency services or a towing company if necessary. In case of cellular problems, it is always a good idea to let someone know where you will be going and your route.

Preparing for Each Drive

Before you leave your home, there are steps you should take before every drive. Try to avoid driving while you are fatigued as this increases the risk of accidents. Also check the local weather and road conditions before committing to go out. Even without accounting for the wind chill effect Edmonton saw temperatures as low as -35.8 degrees Celsius last winter. Try to avoid unnecessary travel in adverse conditions and leave extra time if you must travel. Make sure you are warmly dressed before getting into the car and ensure that you have blankets in the vehicle.

Be aware that black ice is most common at moderate winter temperatures between -4 and +4 degrees Celsius. It is particularly prevalent on bridges and overpasses. Bring a map with you and plan your route to ensure you arrive safely at your destination.

Before getting into your car, remove all snow from your vehicle. Never warm up the vehicle in an enclosed area, such as an enclosed garage. Use your seat belt every time you get into the vehicle. Ensure that your gas tank is at least half full to avoid a gas line freeze-up. Also, keep a cell phone and charger with you, blankets, gloves, hats, food, water, any medications you need alongside a car emergency road kit.

Reducing Potential Dangers When Driving

When driving, always look and steer where you want to go and be aware of black ice. Accelerate and decelerate slowly as this is the best method to regain traction and avoid skidding. You should be prepared to start breaking earlier than usual for stops because it takes longer to slow down on icy roads. Avoid using overdrive and cruise control when going over slippery surfaces (wet, ice, sand). Use the map in your vehicle and take an alternative route if your primary route is unsafe due to conditions.

If you get stuck along the way, don’t overexert yourself to try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow. If you become snow-bound outside of the city, stay with your vehicle as it provides temporary shelter, avoids you getting lost and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. When you get to your destination, if possible, avoid using the parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.

Obtaining the Right Car Insurance

As part of winter driving safety, you will want to ensure that you have the car insurance protections you need to drive in Edmonton. While basic automobile insurance, including third party liability, is mandatory, there are several provisions that are optional coverages that you may find helpful, including having coverage for a rental vehicle if you get into an accident and still need transportation.

Contacting MBS Insurance Brokers Ltd. in Edmonton

At MBS Insurance Brokers Ltd., we have over 40 years of experience helping individuals obtain competitive auto insurance in Edmonton. We know the kinds of risks you face driving in winter and we can provide you with comprehensive insurance that can protect you and your vehicle in the event of an accident.

We believe in building strong, long-term client relations. Contact us today at 780-436-7880 to for a free quote from one of our auto insurance specialists.

How an Insurance Broker Saves You Time and Money

Do you know the benefits of an insurance broker?

Suppose you’re looking for the best insurance coverage at the best rates in Edmonton. In that case, you’ll first want to understand the benefits of an insurance broker and how they can help protect you in all sorts of different situations – whether it be saving you money, time or giving you simple peace of mind.

What Are the Benefits of an Insurance Broker?

Here are some of the many benefits of an insurance broker.


1. Saves Time

An insurance broker does all the work for you, so you don’t have to spend your valuable time shopping around for insurance. Instead, you simply provide your broker with information about your needs, and they shop the markets on your behalf.


2. Saves Money

Insurance brokers work with many different partners to find the best deals on the insurance that works for you. They take all your needs into account and make recommendations that are in your best interest. They have relationships with many insurance partners and can negotiate competitive rates and discounts, saving you money in the long run.

3. Expert Knowledge and Advice

An insurance broker provides you with the support and expertise you need to find coverage that suits your needs. They work with various products and services to find the coverage that best suits you. In addition, they can draw from an extensive knowledge base and experience to advise you on the best options. 

Insurance Brokers provide expert and unbiased advice. A wealth of knowledge about coverage and market rates combined with expert risk assessment ensures your possessions and business are adequately protected. Whether you are looking into auto insurance rates, tenant insurance, or home insurance rates, your insurance broker can help you every step of the way.

You can utilize their expertise to quickly identify your options and rely on their unbiased advice to help you make the best-informed decision for your situation.


4. Working For Your Best Interests

Since insurance brokers do not work with one particular company, they have nothing to gain from recommending a specific product. The insurance company also pays them a standard commission. Thus, there is no financial incentive to choose one insurer over another.

Insurance brokers have your best interests in mind. You can count on them to find you the best rate possible, which can give you the peace of mind you need. You can rest assured knowing that if you ever need to file a claim, one of our brokers will be there by your side to guide you every step of the way. They act as an advisor on insurance-related matters. They will shop the market for the best coverage and rates for you. Since fulfilling your needs is their only priority, they will provide independent, unbiased advice on the right coverage for your situation.

5. Privileged access and rates

Insurance Brokers have access to a wide selection of the best insurance companies in the country. These insurance companies are only accessible by Insurance Brokers. They do not deal with the public directly or with Direct Writers. Brokers enjoy long-standing relationships with these insurance companies. Still, they do not have an affiliation with any specific insurer, enabling brokers to provide you with a broader range of options at competitive rates.


6. Transparency

Insurance brokers must give full disclosure about their compensation and its effect on your insurance premium.  They are also required to declare any financial links with specific companies that may be a conflict of interest, enabling you to make the best-informed decision.


7. Risk and Advocacy Experience

Extensive experience dealing with different clients and claim situations equips insurance brokers with a broader perspective on how to reduce your risk. Also, in the event of a claim, you can count on your broker to act as your advocate with the insurance company and handle your claim fairly and promptly.

Speak to MBS Insurance in Edmonton about your Coverage

Reach out to MBS Insurance today to determine your home, auto, and commercial coverage options. Over the past 45 years, our experienced team of insurance brokers in Edmonton has earned the trust and loyalty of our clients by delivering superior products and services. We understand your needs and provide you with the best protection and rates.

There are many benefits of an insurance broker. We can help you understand the intricacies of your insurance plan while saving you money at the same time. We are a trusted insurance provider in Edmonton and provide personal and commercial insurance policies to people living in Alberta. We offer the best rates on recreational, auto, property, commercial, and group insurance policies. 

Contact us online for a free quote or by phone at 780-436-7880.

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This article was originally published on October 7, 2016, and updated for 2021.