After rescuing drivers for over a century, BCAA offers five safe winter driving tips
BURNABY, BC, Nov. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Each year during winter months, BCAA braces for a spike in calls from all over the province for roadside assistance. But, according to BCAA's team of automotive techs, many breakdowns, emergencies and related inconveniences can be avoided. BCAA urges drivers to prepare their cars now, starting with the tires and recommends designated winter tires as the safest option for all winter driving conditions. The organization offers five simple tips to prepare for the season.
On average, BCAA typically receives close to 1,700 roadside assistance calls a day province-wide. On a peak day during winter, that daily number can rise by an extra 1,000 calls and can even increase by 3,000 more calls in the Metro Vancouver area during snowy or frigid weather.
"There's a lot of noise out there about what's best for your car and our Members trust us to give them the safest recommendation," says Ken Cousin, BCAA's associate vice-president of Road Assist. "BCAA has been rescuing drivers and servicing cars on the side of the road for 108 years. Our first-hand experience has taught us the importance of preparing your car for winter conditions, starting with your tire choice, and BCAA believes designated winter tires are the safest way to go."
According to BCAA's Winter Driving Survey last year, just half of B.C. drivers planned to use winter tires. Of those not planning to use winter tires, 54 per cent said it didn't snow often enough in the area where they drive, and 51 per cent believed all-season tires are safe enough to get them through winter.
"There's a misconception that winter tires are only meant for snow but they're also the safest when it comes to all other winter conditions," says Cousin. "Freezing temperatures, rain, slush, ice or snow can make roads dangerous, even for the most experienced driver. BCAA is here to help people make the safest choice. "
When comparing winter tires to all-seasons, designated winter tires have more robust tread patterns and softer rubber compounds which mean they remain flexible in cold temperatures and give better traction. When temperatures drop below 7 degrees Celsius, all-season tires can become brittle and rigid, causing them to lose traction.
BCAA's expert automotive technicians recommend the five following tips as a way to prepare for winter driving:
For maximum safety, use winter tires, all four the same. As soon as you see your breath in the air, it's time to switch to winter tires. Designated winter tires have the symbol of a snowflake inside a peaked mountain on the sidewall. If you're re-using your winter tires, ensure the tread depth meets the legal limit of at least 3.5 millimetres to be considered winter tires, according to the BC Ministry of Transportation.
Take your vehicle to an automotive professional. From the antifreeze to the defrost system to windshield wipers and battery, get a complete winter check-up. Ensure the battery is tested, replacing it if necessary and that tires are properly inflated.
Manage your journey and be prepared for an emergency. Carry a mobile phone and its charger. Stay informed about weather and road conditions using tools such as the BCAA mobile app, a technology solution which provides access to Drive BC highway cameras, GPS navigation, BCAA roadside assistance and Gas Price Monitor to locate gas stations and prices wherever you are so you can ensure your vehicle always has a full tank of gas.
Carry emergency items. Create a winter driving emergency kit and ensure its contents are up-to-date. Include items such as general emergency and first-aid kits, warm clothes, blanket, winter boots and gloves, windshield scraper, snow brush, shovel and spare container of winter-grade washer fluid.
Know how to use tire chains. If you're planning on driving over snow-bound mountain passes or other designated winter tire and chain-up routes, purchase correctly sized tire chains, and practice installing them while at home to avoid having to figure it out at the roadside.
Visit bcaa.com/winterdriving for advice on how to properly prepare a vehicle for cold winter weather.
BCAA is the most trusted organization in British Columbia according to its Members and is one of Canada's 50 Best Employers for 2015 according to Aon Hewitt. With more than 823,000 Members, BCAA provides an array of home, auto, travel and life 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" three years in a row (2012, 2013 and 2014) – details at jdpower.com. Now in its 108th year, BCAA has over $460 million in annual sales, 27 service locations, one Auto Service Centre and over 1,000 employees. To learn more about BCAA's Community Impact Programs to help keep British Columbians safe and the other benefits of BCAA Membership, visit bcaa.com.
SOURCE: British Columbia Automobile Association
For further information: Or to request an interview, please contact: Niela Melanio, BCAA Communication Specialist, Office: 604-268-5342, Cell: 778-228-8859, Email: [email protected]