Most Canadian drivers unprepared to face winter: Roadside emergency calls skyrocket 529 per cent during days of extreme winter temperatures

Despite this, only 43 per cent of Canadians plan to install winter tires this season

TORONTO, Nov. 9, 2011 /CNW/ - Even though its arrival is inevitable, too many Canadian drivers head into winter unprepared. According to data from Canadian Tire Roadside Assistance*, compared to average call volumes, calls skyrocket 529 per cent during days of extreme winter temperatures (those of minus 10oC or below). Calls for battery boosts rose 1400 per cent and towing assistance shot up over 414% on this day in most provinces.

Ice, snow, sleet and frigid temperatures can wreak havoc on the roads; despite this, according to a survey* commissioned by Canadian Tire, only 43 per cent of Canadian drivers outside the province of Quebec, where winter tires are mandated by law, plan to install winter tires.

Many drivers are not aware that winter tires should be installed when the temperature hits a consistent 7oC or below. In these temperatures, winter rated tires retain rubber elasticity for better control and traction - even in temperatures of minus 30˚C and below. Winter tires can offer up to 50 per cent more winter traction than all-season tires.

Canadian Tire's data shows many Canadian drivers will find themselves stuck with a car that won't start when the first cold snap hits. At minus 18oC and below, car batteries are only able to use about 40 per cent of their charge, yet will need twice the power in order to start a vehicle - a recipe for disaster, considering one in five batteries on the road today are close to dead.

As Canada's automotive authority, drivers can turn to Canadian Tire for all their winter driving needs. For additional help, the Canadian Tire Roadside Assistance program includes 24/7 roadside assistance for battery boosts, fuel delivery, lock-out service, flat tire change, towing and accident assistance.

"Winter is around the corner and Canadian Tire wants to help keep drivers safe on the roads this season," said Carol Deacon, Associate Vice President of Automotive, Canadian Tire. "We have everything to help tackle the harshest weather - from winter rated tires to free battery checks to new wiper blades and more."

Canadian Tire urges drivers to take a few steps to ensure a safe winter weather driving experience:

  • Install winter rated tires - look for the Rubber Association of Canada's 'mountain/snowflake' symbol indicating winter rated tires.
  • Check your battery - the test only takes a minute; visit your local Canadian Tire before the end of the year for a free battery check.
  • Replace old wiper blades - inspect and replace windshield wiper blades that streak, smear or skip.
  • Fill up with winter rated washer fluid - fill up with a washer fluid that will perform in very cold temperatures (up to -40oC).
  • Place a snowbrush and ice scraper in your vehicle - it's simple to do, but too many Canadian drivers will be caught without them when winter weather hits.
  • Keep a roadside safety kit handy - The Motomaster Roadside Emergency Kit comes complete with jumper cables, gloves, flashlight and more, plus one-year of membership in Canadian Tire's Roadside Assistance program.

For more information about the Canadian Tire Roadside Assistance program, please visit www.canadiantire.ca/roadside or call 1-888-7ASSIST (1-888-727-7478).

Over the last year, Canadian Tire has committed to transforming the customer experience, investing in training and technology across the dealer network and launching an online tire store (www.canadiantire.ca/tires) among other innovative initiatives.

About Canadian Tire
Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (TSX:CTC.a) (TSX:CTC) is one of Canada's most-shopped general retailers and the country's largest sporting goods retailer, with more than 1,700 retail and gasoline outlets from coast-to-coast. Our primary retail business categories - Automotive, Living, Fixing, Playing and Apparel - are supported and strengthened by our Financial Services division, which offers such products and services as credit cards, retail deposits, in-store financing, product warranties, and insurance. Nearly 68,000 people are employed across the Canadian Tire enterprise, which was founded in 1922 and remains one of Canada's most recognized and trusted brands.

*About the survey
From September 2nd to September 4th, 2011, an online survey was conducted among a sample of 1,007 Canadian adults who drive a car and who are Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error on the full base — which measures sampling variability — is +/- 3.01%. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Canadian Tire Roadside Assistance data
Data from Canadian Tire Roadside Assistance gathered in 2010/2011. Extreme winter weather conditions defined as temperatures of minus 10oC or below. Daily emergency roadside assistance call volumes average taken over the course of 2010/2011.

SOURCE CANADIAN TIRE CORPORATION, LIMITED

For further information:

Nicole Grant, North Strategic (for Canadian Tire)
416-419-6577, nicole.grant@northstrategic.com

Jessica Culp, Communications Advisor
416-480-8261, jessica.culp@cantire.com


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