We suck: BC motorists admit to being worst winter drivers in Canada

Nov 22 2016, 10:54 pm

It turns out drivers in BC are pretty self aware when it comes to their driving abilities – or lack thereof.

In a recent BCAA survey, motorists in Canada’s westernmost province admitted to being the worst winter drivers in the country. However, despite the inevitable onset of winter, few of them are planning to change their ways to tackle the challenging road conditions.

In fact, when it comes to winter, some drivers feel the exact opposite.

According to BCAA almost 32% of BC motorists say they have good winter driving skills and don’t believe they need winter tires. What’s more, 31% of drivers say they won’t do any winter prep on their car until it actually snows.

Drivers may be taking risks by not being honest with themselves about their driving skills or comfort level when it comes to winter driving, the survey found.

“Call it overconfidence or denial but… in my experience, too many British Columbians – especially in the Lower Mainland – don’t think about winter driving until it’s too late,” says Stu Miller, BCAA senior manager of automotive operations.

“Winter weather can create unpredictable road conditions anywhere and at any time, which can turn out to be challenging for even the most experienced driver.”

According to BCAA, when harsh winter weather hits, the number of calls from across the province into the organization’s roadside assistance call centre can increase between 40 to 60% on certain days.

In the Metro Vancouver area alone, roadside assistance call volumes during snowy or frigid weather can double.

By the numbers

The survey also revealed other facts and figures about the way BC drivers handle winter roads.

  • 68% of respondents think all BC drivers should use winter tires
  • 29% have a winter roadside emergency kit
  • 64% say they are experienced winter drivers
  • 45% say they’re experienced – but bad at driving in winter conditions
  • 64% spend up to 10 hours behind the wheel per week
  • 32% spend up to 30 hours a week behind the wheel.

Get winter ready

BCAA has some easy tips to help drivers stay safe on the roads during winter:

Prepare your car so it endures weather conditions and performs well so you can drive safely.

  • Get a complete vehicle check-up before cold weather sets in.
  • Carry a winter driving emergency kit and chains in your car.

Adjust your driving behaviours to match the weather conditions. 

  • Take precautions before and while you drive—clear snow and ice from windows and lights, defog all windows before you head out, drive at slower speeds, leave more room between you and the car ahead and use turn signals well in advance.
  • Check road and weather conditions before you head out.

Make safety your priority

  • Don’t underestimate the impact all winter conditions can have on your car and ability to drive safely.
  • Be honest about your driving skills and comfort levels—don’t drive in conditions when you don’t have the skills or if you’re too nervous.
  • Avoid the temptation to drive when you shouldn’t by having other transportation options already planned.

For more information and tips on how to prepare for winter driving, visit BCAA’s website.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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