More Manitoba motorists are dying in rural highway crashes this season compared to an average winter, according to the province's public auto insurer.

Manitoba Public Insurance says 13 people were killed in rural highway crashes in December and January, with winter weather conditions playing a major role in most of those cases.

Officials say that number accounts for 87 per cent of all road fatalities in the province since Dec. 1.

In an average winter, 70 per cent of road fatalities happen on rural roads, says MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley.

"It's not good. We attribute that to certainly severe weather conditions … drivers not adjusting their driving to road conditions," he told CBC News on Tuesday.

MPI also noted that about 40 per cent of road crashes in Manitoba happen at intersections, and high speeds raise the risk of serious injury or death at highway intersections.

Both MPI and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities are encouraging drivers to be patient, slow down when there's ice and snow, and drive to the road conditions.