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January 19, 2012 – OTTAWA – More than six out of 10 Canadians could find themselves in trouble if they got stranded while driving in winter, according to polling data released today by the Canadian Automobile Association.

Only 36 per cent of those surveyed carry a winter driving kit in their vehicle. That means no flares, warm blankets, or other essentials to help them out in the case of a winter driving mishap.

�The absence of a winter driving kit tells us people aren�t as prepared as they should be,� says Jeff Walker, CAA vice president of public affairs. �Winter driving kits help make sure an inconvenience doesn�t turn into a tragedy.�

The same poll, conducted over the Christmas break, did show some positive news about Canadians� winter driving habits. Eighty per cent say they drive more carefully in winter, leaving more space between themselves and other vehicles. Further, 63 per cent regularly check their windshield washer fluid, another essential element of safe winter driving. The poll also found that 76 per cent of Canadians said they leave extra time when travelling to account for ice and snow on the road.

CAA recommends all drivers carry with them in their vehicle the following items for a winter survival kit:

  • Warm winter gloves, toque and boots
  • Blanket or extra clothing
  • Bag of sand or kitty litter
  • Small shovel
  • Ice scraper and/or snow brush
  • Candy or chocolate bar for energy
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • First aid kit
  • Hardcopy local map (not just a GPS unit)
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Flares
  • Waterproof matches
  • Battery jumper cables

CAA also advises travelers to carry a fully-charged cell phone and to let others know your travel itinerary, route and expected arrival time.

The poll of 1,021 Canadians, conducted Dec. 7 to Jan. 6, is considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is a federation of nine clubs providing more than 5.6 million members with exceptional emergency roadside service, complete automotive and travel services, member savings and comprehensive insurance services. CAA also advocates on issues of concern to its members, including road safety, the environment, mobility, infrastructure and consumer protection. www.caa.ca