BCAA's gravity-defying 'guardian angel' reminds motorists to prepare for winter driving

BURNABY, BC, Dec. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - On December 5th (11:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.), in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery located downtown on Robson Street, Vancouverites will experience one of the British Columbia Automobile Association's (BCAA) 'guardian angels' like they've never seen before—floating 16 feet overhead, wings and all.

Each year during winter months, BCAA's Road Assist division braces for an increase in calls from all over the province for roadside assistance. This year, the organization is making dramatic efforts to encourage motorists to prepare for winter driving conditions in order to avoid a vehicle breakdown and more importantly—ensure their safety and the safety of other road users.

According to BCAA, the organization typically receives an average of 2,000 roadside assistance calls a day. When harsh winter weather hits, the number of calls for roadside assistance can increase by more than 25 per cent. In the Metro Vancouver area, roadside assistance call volumes during snowy or frigid weather can double.

To promote its renowned roadside assistance service and other membership benefits, BCAA is creating an eye-catching 'guardian angel' illusion that will result in a "how did they do that?" reaction from those who witness it. With the Vancouver Art Gallery as the backdrop and purposefully made 'snow' swirling about, a BCAA 'guardian angel' wearing giant white wings and the organization's well-recognized roadside assistance uniform will be 'hovering' over Robson Street. The airborne 'angel' is there to spread holiday cheer and help BCAA share the message about the importance of winter driving preparedness.

"Whether you're unable to unlock your car, start your car, or need to be recovered from a snow bank, our roadside assistance technicians see first-hand how distressing winter-related breakdowns can be for our Members," says BCAA's Associate Vice President of Road Assist, Ken Cousin. "Our event is not meant to be simply entertaining, we want to encourage motorists to prepare for winter driving. Motorists need to appreciate that wet or freezing conditions place added stress on a vehicle, and can trigger a malfunction or breakdown at the most inopportune time, or worse—contribute to an accident."

To help motorists prepare themselves and the vehicles they drive for winter, BCAA's expert roadside assistant technicians recommend the following:

Prepare your vehicle. Take your vehicle to an automotive professional for a complete vehicle check-up long before cold weather settles in. Ensure tires are properly inflated. Use high-quality winter tires, all four the same. Test your battery and replace if necessary.

Carry emergency items. General emergency and first-aid kits, warm clothes, blanket, winter boots and gloves, fully charged mobile phone and phone charger, windshield scraper, snow brush, shovel and spare container of winter-grade washer fluid.

Manage your journey and be prepared for an emergency. Check for the latest weather information and allow extra travel time. If you're planning on driving over snow-bound mountain passes, purchase correctly sized tire chains, and practice installing them at home, rather than at the roadside.

Visit bcaa.com/guardianangel to find a full list of winter vehicle maintenance and driving tips that will help you reduce the risk of a vehicle breakdown and other inconveniences. BCAA is also a part of the Winter Driving Safety Alliance and is participating in the "Shift Into Winter" campaign.

At the "Guardian Angel" event, BCAA is also sharing other ways its Membership is like a 'guardian angel' such as the assistance and savings provided by BCAA's insurance and trip planning services. People attending the event will also be given a chance to win one of 25 free, one-year BCAA Basic Memberships.

About BCAA
BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C., with over 105 years of experience and gross annual sales of nearly $400 million from its membership, insurance and travel businesses. A BCAA Membership can be found in the wallets of over 800,000 British Columbians and in one-in-four B.C. households. For the third year in 2012, BCAA received the highest score in Western Canada for home insurance customer satisfaction in a J.D. Power and Associates study. 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.

Video with caption: "Video: Cameras followed a BCAA "Guardian Angel"--a real BCAA roadside assistance technician--for a day and captured the reactions of unsuspecting Members as he provided assistance wearing giant 'angel wings'.". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20121205_C6315_VIDEO_EN_21565.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20121205_C6315_PHOTO_EN_21565.jpg&clientName=British%20Columbia%20Automobile%20Association&caption=Video%3A%20Cameras%20followed%20a%20BCAA%20%22Guardian%20Angel%22%2D%2Da%20real%20BCAA%20roadside%20assistance%20technician%2D%2Dfor%20a%20day%20and%20captured%20the%20reactions%20of%20unsuspecting%20Members%20as%20he%20provided%20assistance%20wearing%20giant%20%27angel%20wings%27%2E&title=Video%3A%20BCAA%20%22Guardian%20Angel%22&headline=BCAA%27s%20gravity%2Ddefying%20%27guardian%20angel%27%20reminds%20motorists%20to%20prepare%20for%20winter%20driving

Video with caption: "Video: BCAA Guardian Angel illusion in downtown Vancouver to help promote safe winter driving.". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20121205_C6315_VIDEO_EN_21615.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20121205_C6315_PHOTO_EN_21615.jpg&clientName=British%20Columbia%20Automobile%20Association&caption=Video%3A%20BCAA%20Guardian%20Angel%20illusion%20in%20downtown%20Vancouver%20to%20help%0D%0Apromote%20safe%20winter%20driving%2E&title=BRITISH%20COLUMBIA%20AUTOMOBILE%20ASSOCIATION%20%2D%20BCAA%27s%20gravity%2Ddefying%20%27guardian%20angel%27%20reminds%20motorists%20to%20prepare%20for%20winter%20driving&headline=BCAA%27s%20gravity%2Ddefying%20%27guardian%20angel%27%20reminds%20motorists%20to%20prepare%20for%20winter%20driving

Image with caption: "BCAA Guardian Angel illusion to help promote safe winter driving. The BCAA Guardian Angel is floating 16 feet in the air. (CNW Group/British Columbia Automobile Association)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121205_C6315_PHOTO_EN_21613.jpg

SOURCE: British Columbia Automobile Association

For further information:

Editor's notes: For further information, or to request an interview, please contact:

Niela Melanio
BCAA Public Affairs and Media Specialist
Office: 604-268-5342
Cell: 778-228-8859
Email: niela.melanio@bcaa.com

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