What some drivers will do to avoid an accident

Ashley Russo often takes the longer, less busy route home from work just to avoid other cars and limit the potential for accidents. She also prefers to park her car at the far end of the parking lot at the grocery store to avoid dings from shopping carts and other vehicles.

And she's not alone.

Roughly 70 per cent of drivers surveyed have taken similar measures to try and prevent an accident or damages to their car, according to a recent survey conducted by TD Insurance, and one of the top reasons respondents cited for trying to avoid other cars is the headaches that come from dealing with the aftermath of an accident.

As a team manager at the TD Insurance Auto Centre in Vaughan, Russo isn't surprised that Canadians will go out of their way to be cautious about their driving. Her role is centred around providing customers with a simplified and holistic post-accident experience by offering access to claims advice, vehicle repairs and replacement car rentals — all under one roof.   

"I have become very aware of my surroundings and make sure to take extra precautions whenever I can," said Russo.

Russo understands first-hand the questions that run through someone's mind after getting into a car accident or discovering that their vehicle has been damaged. By simplifying the process customers need to go through to get their claims processed, their vehicle fixed, and a replacement car secured, Russo and her team are hoping to ease the stress that can come after an accident.

Russo said it comes as no real surprise that so many people find the situation to be stressful and complicated.

"A lot of the worry stems from customers not feeling fully comfortable in their understanding of their insurance policy and what is or isn’t covered," she said. "Despite going through a difficult ordeal, we want our customers to leave feeling more at ease."

Following an accident, customers can call and book an appointment at one of the 12 Auto Centres located across Canada. Once onsite, customers will have access to claims advisors and certified repair technicians who run body shops and can evaluate the damages to vehicles while completing repairs. Each location also features a car rental professional who can help out drivers who need a vehicle while they await repairs.

"The more we help simplify the process for our customers who have experienced an accident or damages to their vehicle, the more they will feel they are being taken care of from the moment they walk through our doors," said Russo.

According to the poll, the first thought most people have after being involved in an accident is whether anyone has been injured, followed by wondering how much vehicle repairs will cost and whether insurance will cover the damages.

Russo recalled interacting with one customer from the Toronto area who was heading to an amusement park for the day with her two children, aged 10 and 12, when the family was involved in a car accident.

"The mother was completely distressed and did not know what to expect, thinking it would be a very long process on what was supposed to be a fun day out with the kids," said Russo, whose team managed to make the entire process move quickly and with little interruption by providing a consult with an on-site claims advisor as well as access to a rental vehicle.

"They left happy because they were still able to stick their original plan and spend the day together as a family."

The survey, which was conducted by Environics Research Group on behalf of TD Insurance, polled 901 Canadian drivers over the age of 18 in an online survey.