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New BCAA survey shows many B.C. Motorists Are Not Prepared for Winter Driving 

Burnaby, B.C., November 29, 2022 – Ready or not, winter is here – and according to a new BCAA survey, many motorists are still unprepared and nervous about driving in winter conditions.

According to the survey results, 47% have not had their winter tires installed and only 37% have an emergency kit in their vehicles in case of a breakdown. In terms of winter driving confidence, 42% of BC drivers are nervous driving in snow and winter conditions, with the most skittish being in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island where they get less practice. When it comes to winter driving competence, 72% believe BC drivers are poor winter drivers, and 50% believe we are the worst in Canada.

Everyone knows that driving in winter can be tricky and potentially dangerous, yet every year we continue to see too many people who don’t plan properly and then get into trouble,” says Josh Smythe, BCAA Automotive Manager. “While you can never eliminate all the challenges that winter presents, there are still several simple things that can help to make your driving experience safer.

Smythe says one of the most important things drivers should do before winter arrives is to get their vehicles prepared with a pre-season check-up and have winter tires installed. Every vehicle should also carry things drivers might need in the event of an emergency, such as a shovel, windshield scraper and brush, a blanket and some non-perishable food and water.

Although snow and ice are common causes of poor winter driving conditions, there are many other things motorists should be aware of, including heavy rain and darkness. As BCAA’s most recent Winter Driving Survey discovered, 26% have experienced a winter driving incident.

A lot of people drive in unsafe conditions, which obviously increases their chances of having an accident or getting stuck and needing to be rescued,” Smythe says.

BCAA, which rescues thousands of motorists every winter, advises all drivers to get their vehicles ready for the season ahead, adjust their driving habits to match the road and weather conditions, and be prepared to make alternate plans if driving becomes too difficult or dangerous.

BCAA Winter Driving Tips 

  1. Get your car prepared with a winter check-up which includes installing four winter tires that are properly inflated and in good condition with adequate tread depth.
  2. Check your tire pressure often, especially when it gets colder, as air pressure decreases in cold weather.
  3. Always match your driving habits to the conditions. In poor weather or when snow or ice are present, make sure you slow down and leave more room between you and the vehicle ahead.
  4. Avoid driving in challenging areas such as on hills and in unplowed streets or parking lots.
  5. Keep your driveway clear whenever it snows and check the condition of side streets before trying to drive along them. BCAA responds to many calls for roadside assistance every winter from drivers whose cars got stuck in driveways or on unplowed side streets.
  6. Reduce the number of times you have to drive and cancel or postpone trips when conditions are unsafe.
  7. Keep winter driving emergency items in your vehicle, including: a shovel, a windshield scraper and brush, a flashlight with fully charged batteries, highly visible winter outerwear, warm clothes, winter boots, gloves, a blanket, roadside equipment (such as cones and battery jumper cables), a supply of non-perishable food and water, and a spare container of winter-grade windshield washer fluid.

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About the survey

These results are based on an online survey of a representative sample of 853 adult British Columbian drivers (have a valid driver’s licence and regularly drive their own vehicle) surveyed using Leger's panel, LEO, from November 25-28, 2022. As a non-random internet survey, a margin of error is not reported. For comparison, a probability sample of n=853 would have a margin of error of ±3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Any discrepancies between totals are due to rounding.

About BCAA

BCAA (British Columbia Automobile Association) is a purpose-driven Member-based organization delivering peace of mind to our Members and customers across BC with proven protection and mobility solutions as Canada’s Most Trusted brand in association with CAA (Canadian Automobile Association). With more than one million Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 BC households with industry-leading products, including home, car, travel, and small business insurance, Evo Car Share, roadside assistance, and full auto repair at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres across the province. BCAA also has a long history of keeping our roads safe and giving back in ways that improve the lives of British Columbians and communities throughout our province.

For further information or to set up an interview, please contact:

Stephanie Thatcher
BCAA Communication Specialist
      Keiko Jacobs
BCAA Communication Specialist