BCAA's hot tips for cold weather driving

Protect yourself against winter weather mishaps

BURNABY, BC, Dec. 9 /CNW/ - It never fails. With the first cold snap of the season, comes plenty of vehicle breakdowns and crashes. BCAA Road Assist has experienced double the normal call volumes since the cold weather streak hit the province, and is asking drivers to prepare for the challenges of driving in cold, icy and snowy conditions.

To avoid falling victim to "old man winter", BCAA urges you to fully prepare your vehicle and learn the essentials of good winter driving -- that is, to stay alert, slow down and stay in control.

BCAA's top ten winter driving and vehicle prep tips include:

    
    1.  Give your vehicle a winter check-up. Check fluids, tire tread and
        inflation, lights, wipers, brakes and check your battery to ensure
        the power is there when you need it.

    2.  Install four matching winter tires. Don't mix tires with different
        tread patterns, internal construction and size, as it diminishes
        vehicle handling.

    3.  If you're heading out on a long trip, pack an emergency kit including
        a shovel, extra windshield washer fluid, sand or kitty litter, fuel-
        line antifreeze, a thermal blanket, extra clothing and footwear, and
        a first-aid kit.

    4.  Learn and practice winter driving techniques before you need them. If
        you have tire chains, make sure you have practiced installing them
        before you're standing knee-deep in snow.

    5.  Plan ahead, check road and weather conditions. If driving is risky,
        stay home if you can. If not, proceed with caution and keep your
        radio tuned to a local station for ongoing weather advisories.

    6.  Remove all snow from your vehicle before each trip, including the
        hood, roof, bumpers and lights. Also, ensure your windshield and
        windows are free of frost and ice, and are de-fogged before starting
        out.

    7.  Give yourself extra travel time in bad weather, and whenever
        possible, don't travel alone.

    8.  Avoid using overdrive and cruise control on slippery roads. If you're
        driving a four-wheel drive vehicle, don't drive with a false sense of
        security. The four-wheel drive feature reduces your likelihood of
        getting stuck, but it won't help you stop any faster.

    9.  Travel with a fully charged cell phone, but don't talk and drive. Let
        someone with you make the call, or pull over to a safe spot to place
        a call.

    10. Drive for the conditions, not the speed limit. Take it slow and
        signal your turns and lane changes well in advance. Increase the
        distance between you and the car in front of you. Transport Canada
        recommends leaving a distance of 10 car-lengths when driving at
        100 km/h in winter.
    

More winter driving tips and resources can be found on BCAA's website at www.bcaa.com/winterdriving.

About BCAA

BCAA is dedicated to meeting the needs of its members and customers throughout B.C. and the Yukon, connecting them with a team of membership, automotive and insurance professionals. With nearly 790,000 members and $130 million in revenues, BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C. and the fourth largest CAA-affiliated association in Canada. For the past three years, BCAA was named one the 50 Best Employers in Canada by international HR consultants Hewitt Associates and the Globe & Mail's Report on Business magazine. In addition, BCAA Insurance has been awarded the "Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Home Insurance Providers" by consumer research group, J.D. Power and Associates. To learn more about BCAA's products, services and member advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation visit www.tsf-bcaa.com.

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association

For further information: For further information: Ken Cousin, Director, Road Assist, Tel: (604) 293-2132, E-mail: ken.cousin@bcaa.com; Jennifer Timm, BCAA Media Relations, Tel: (604) 268-5342, Cell: (778) 228-8859, E-mail: jennifer.timm@bcaa.com


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