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BCAA Annual Winter Driving Survey reveals one-in-three B.C. drivers admit to “freaking out” when they have to drive in snow

Burnaby, B.C. – A new survey for the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) reveals that British Columbians are not fully prepared for winter driving conditions, with only half planning to install winter tires and one-in-four admitting to driving without a winter emergency kit.

The survey, conducted by Insights West, asked B.C. motorists about their winter driving habits and how they plan to prepare for winter driving conditions. While the majority of respondents believe all B.C. drivers should use winter tires, only half (52 per cent) actually plan on installing them on their own vehicles. Of those not planning to use winter tires this season, 54 per cent said it didn’t snow often enough in the area where they drive, and 51 per cent believe all-season tires are safe enough to get them through winter.

“There’s a misconception that winter tires are only for driving in snow,” says Ken Cousin, associate vice president of BCAA Road Assist. “In fact, winter tires are the safest option for all winter conditions – whether it’s ice, frost, slush or snow. All of these can make roads dangerous for even the most experienced driver.”

Overall, the survey results show most B.C. motorists consider themselves to be good or experienced winter drivers, though one-in-four admit they do not carry a winter emergency kit. When it comes to snowy road conditions, a quarter (25%) consider themselves “nervous” but still drive, 17 per cent choose to not drive in bad winter conditions, while one third of B.C. drivers (32%) admit to “freaking out” when faced with driving in snow. BCAA’s annual Winter Driving Survey also reveals that close to 30 per cent of B.C. drivers say they were not taught how to drive in winter conditions.

“Whether you’re a good winter driver or not, whether you live in a snow belt or not, BCAA strongly advises motorists to prepare now before winter conditions hit and make smart choices along the way. Confident winter drivers should prepare now and practice safe winter driving habits. Those who prefer to avoid winter roads should plan for another way to get to their destination.”

According to BCAA, when harsh winter weather hits, the number of calls to the organization’s roadside assistance call centre can increase by more than 25 per cent. In the Metro Vancouver area, roadside assistance call volumes during snowy or frigid weather can double.

Visit for advice on how to prepare a vehicle for cold winter weather and what emergency items to carry, along with tips on how to drive in certain winter conditions and what drivers should do if they experience a vehicle breakdown.

About the survey

BCAA’s annual Winter Driving Survey was conducted by Insights West. Results are based on an online study conducted from October 23 to October 27, 2013, among 838 British Columbians who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members, including 748 drivers. is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

About BCAA

BCAA is one of the most trusted organizations in British Columbia, serving one in four B.C. households. With over 800,000 Members, BCAA provides an array of home, auto and travel insurance services, and is renowned for its legendary roadside assistance. J.D. Power has ranked BCAA “Highest In Customer Satisfaction among Home Insurance Providers in Western Canada” two years in a row (2012 and 2013) – details at Now in its 107th year, BCAA has over $460 million in annual sales, 27 locations and over 900 employees. To learn more about the benefits of BCAA Membership, visit For more information on the BCAA Road Safety Foundation visit

Editors’ notes

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact:

Niela Melanio
BCAA Communication Specialist
Office: 604-268-5342
Cell: 778-228-8859

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
Cell: 778-929-0490

Photograph: Wilson Hui