Kitty Litter & Credit Cards – The Canadian Approach to Winter Driving?
British drivers by no means hold a monopoly when it comes to being ill-prepared for winter motoring; evidence of this can be seen in a survey released by Canadian Tire, which shows many citizens of its particularly wintry homeland to be dilettantes in conditions they should have long come to grips with.
Despite claims from more than half the 2,060 randomly surveyed Canadians that they are “fully prepared for winter driving”, a mind boggling 38 per cent admitted to loading the boot of their car with sandbags or weights to prevent fishtailing instead of fitting winter tyres. Other reported weapons in Canada’s cold weather driving arsenal include credit cards, which for 27 per cent of respondents double as a handy ice scraper, and snow, the throwing of which serves as a means to remove windscreen ice by 50 per cent of those surveyed.
Surprisingly, when the survey was conducted for Canadian Tire in early November only 30 per cent of the 2,060-strong group had fitted winter tyres. Just over a third of the survey group stated they had no plans to fit them on their vehicles, while 49 per cent held the incorrect belief that mounting two winter tyres is better than doing nothing. Unawareness of the role a tyre’s compound plays in securing grip was also widespread, with 80 per cent of respondents declaring tyre tread depth makes the greatest difference in winter road handling safety. It is perhaps therefore no surprise that many Canadian motorists experience a loss of grip on ice covered surfaces. No need to worry, though; 18 per cent of those surveyed shared that a generous sprinkling of kitty litter is just the ticket when additional traction is needed.
“Canadian Tire knows our lives don’t stop when winter weather hits,” commented a presumably exasperated Andrew Davies, who is vice-president, automotive for Canadian Tire. “Being properly ready for winter driving with things like winter tyres, a collapsible shovel, roadside safety kit, winter windshield washer fluid and snow brushes, instead of depending on kitty litter and a credit card, will make your winter travels easier and safer.”