With winter weather and snow arriving throughout the province, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) is encouraging drivers to take steps like adjusting their driving habits and using winter tires, to reduce their likelihood of being in a collision and needing their vehicle repaired this season.

According to MPI data, approximately 40 per cent of all collisions occur between November and February annually.

“With challenging road conditions during the winter, it’s important to make responsible decisions behind the wheel, like driving to conditions, leaving for your destination earlier than needed, allowing more time to stop, and making sure your windows are all clear of ice and snow,” said Marnie Kacher, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, MPI. “All of these choices, including using winter tires, can contribute to keeping you and your vehicle as safe as possible.”

Unfortunately, even taking as many precautions as possible, unpredictable weather conditions can lead to collisions and vehicle damage. Manitoba repair facilities continue to be busy, and some repairs maybe be delayed in the coming months because of supply chain issues impacting needed parts.

“All of our member repair shops are working hard to get our customers back on the road as quickly as possible,” said Geoff Sine, Executive Director, MMDA. “We appreciate the patience of Manitobans as we continue to work diligently to use our expertise to ensure safe and proper repairs for vehicles that require them.”

For those who require a repair to their vehicle in the coming months, MPI recommends customers open a claim and confirm the loss of use coverage available to them as soon as possible by calling the Corporation’s Contact Centre at 204-985-7000 or toll-free at 1-800-665-2410. The Automotive Trades Association of Manitoba (ATA) and the MMDA encourage customers to check with their selected repair shop as soon as possible to confirm their availability to complete repairs on all claims, including non-drivable vehicles, and establish an expected timeline.

“We understand and care about the inconveniences and pressures customers experience when their damaged vehicles are not drivable. For our repair shops to provide the best service, we ask customers to first contact their chosen repair facility to confirm the date the facility can accept a towed-in vehicle following an MPI estimate,” said Denis Cloutier, Executive Director, ATA. “The best way to address delays is for everyone to work together to make the claims process as smooth as possible.”

Winter driving tips

There are several other important ways for Manitobans to adjust their driving behaviours for winter road conditions, including:

  • Before you head out on the highway, check for road and weather conditions by calling 511.
  • Be cautious in travelling on overpasses and bridges. The surfaces on these structures can freeze quickly due to no ground insulation.
  • Don’t rush. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination safely.
  • At this time of year, keeping windshields clear is essential so make sure windshield washer fluid is topped up and windows are clear of snow and ice.
  • Allow more time to stop. Traction is reduced when roads are slippery; it takes more time to come to a complete stop. If you don’t have winter tires, it’s not too late to get them.
  • Leave more space. Don’t tailgate at any time and remember that following distance should be increased when travelling at higher speeds or in poor visibility.