November 26, 2003

61% of Canadians support a winter speed limit reduction

Toronto – Goodyear Canada released its annual Goodyear Safety Survey of Canadian drivers, and the results are clear: when the temperature drops, our stress levels rise. According to the survey, conducted for Goodyear Canada by Leger Marketing, more than half of Canadian drivers admit to anxiety behind the wheel when driving in the winter, and six in ten drivers would be in favour of at least a 10% reduction in the speed limit during winter months.

“Despite the fact that the pace of life continues to accelerate for many Canadians, what they’re saying loud and clear in the Goodyear survey is that when it comes to winter driving, it’s time to chill out and slow down,” said Scott Cho of Leger Marketing. “Thankfully, we are largely a nation of drivers that values getting from point A to point B safely above getting there quickly.”

The survey also revealed that while many Canadians are anxious winter drivers, three-quarters would still rather be in the driver’s seat than the passenger’s seat when the roads get icy. And to better their odds of a safe arrival, half of Canadians plan to install winter tires in time for the first snowfall.

“In most parts of Canada, going without winter tires is like going without a winter coat – you may get lucky and have mild conditions, but chances are you’ll need extra protection at some point,” said Gus Liotta, General Manager, Consumer Marketing, Goodyear Canada. “When the roads get icy, slowing down and installing winter tires should be your top two priorities.”

The Goodyear survey also reveals that while one in four Canadian drivers admits to splashing a pedestrian, very few bother to stop and apologize.

On the other hand, when it comes to helping out their fellow motorists, Canadian drivers border on saintly, with eight out of ten saying they would stop to help another driver stuck in the snow or ice.

“These results are fascinating because they reveal a strong driver-to-driver kinship that clearly does not apply when the other party is on foot,” said Scott Cho of Leger Marketing. “In one circumstance, we see a stereotypically polite and helpful Canadian disposition, and in the other an inconsiderate, selfish attitude.”

The survey also showed that when asked which gender is the better winter driver, twice as many Canadians say males than females. However, in the same survey, more males admit to having lost control of their vehicle in the winter than females.

Highlights of the 2003 Goodyear Safety Survey:

A movement for moderation

  • 61% of Canadian drivers say speed limits should be decreased by at
    least 10% in the wintertime.

  • Atlantic Canadians lead the movement for moderation: almost
    three-quarters (74%) would be willing to throttle down in the snow.

  • Albertans are least in favour of slowing down, but more than half
    (55%) still think a slower pace on winter roads makes sense.

  • 67% of females approve of slower winter speeds and 54% of males say
    the same.

Wheels for winter

  • As Canadians anticipate the return of winter and the treacherous
    driving conditions that come with it, almost half (48%) plan to
    install winter tires on their vehicles.

  • More than three-quarters (78%) of Quebecers and almost as many (72%)
    Atlantic Canadians plan to put “winter boots” on their cars.

  • While young drivers are often labeled reckless and old drivers
    overcautious, 57% of 18-24 year-olds are opting for the increased
    safety of winter tires, while only 39% of those 65 and older plan to
    do the same.

Anxiety behind the wheel

  • 51% of Canadians admit that winter driving causes them anxiety, with
    six in ten (60%) women admitting ice and snow on the roads gives them
    the jitters, and 40% of men saying the same.

  • Experience counts: Quebecers, with their cold, snowy winters and
    nation-leading adoption of winter tires, have the least anxiety of all
    Canadian drivers, with just 45% reporting winter nerves.

  • British Columbians may act laid-back, but they are the most stressed
    out winter drivers, with 58% reporting anxiety when the roads get icy.

Rather be the driver

  • Despite admitting that they find winter driving stressful, Canadians
    say “riding shotgun” in the winter is even more nerve-wracking – 75%
    would rather be behind the wheel than in the passenger seat.

  • This is more common among males, where 86% would rather do the
    driving, and among those who earn $40,000 and above, where 83% would
    rather take the wheel


Do you splash ‘n dash or insist on assisting?

  • 27% of Canadian drivers admit to spraying a pedestrian while driving
    in the winter, but just 22% of those who do so bother to stop and

  • On the other hand, 78% of Canadian drivers say they would stop and
    help another driver stuck in the snow or ice.

  • Atlantic Canadians report conflicting tendencies: while they splash
    the most pedestrians (45% admit to doing it) and apologize the least
    (just 17% do) they’re also most likely to help a fellow driver (93%
    say they’d stop to pitch in).

  • While Albertans are least likely to splash pedestrians, those who do
    are most likely to stop and beg forgiveness.

Ladies and seniors, start your engines!

  • When asked which gender is the better winter driver, 40% of Canadian
    drivers said males vs. just 20% who said females.

  • When asked if they’ve ever lost control of their vehicle when driving
    in the winter, 57% of men fess up to slip sliding away compared to
    just 41% of women.

  • Just 38% of drivers 65+ say they’ve lost control of their vehicle in
    the winter, but youngsters (18 to 44 years of age) need to get a grip:
    52% say when the roads get sloppy, they do too.

Move over – I’m driving!

  • More than half (51%) of those with a spouse or partner say that they
    are a better driver then their better half.

  • Almost three quarters of males (74%) say they’re a better driver than
    their spouse or partner.

Goodyear Canada recommends installing four winter tires on your vehicle for maximum safety. Winter tires are specifically designed for deep snow and ice, and reduce stopping distance by up to 60% and improve traction by up to 25% compared to the all-season performance tires found on many cars today.

“More and more new vehicles are rolling off the assembly line with all-season performance tires, which provide great handling and ride in moderate climates and conditions, but aren’t designed for harsh Canadian winters,” said Liotta. “A good rule of thumb is that when you start wearing winter boots, your car should too.”

Other winter driving tips:

  • Remove ALL snow from your vehicle – not just the windows.

  • Make sure you’ve got plenty of gas at all times in your tank.
  • Check that antifreeze, transmission, brake and windshield-washer fluids are topped up.
  • Maintain your tires more diligently in colder conditions by always doing your P.A.R.T.:
    • Pressure – Having the correct tire pressure is the most important element to safety and long tread life

    • Alignment – Make sure your vehicle’s alignment is in check;
    • Rotate – To get the most out of your tires, it’s a good idea to get them rotated every 10,000 kilometres
    • Tread – When you’re checking tire pressure, check the tire treads, too.

The telephone survey was conducted for Goodyear Canada by Leger
Marketing, a Canadian representative of the Gallup International Association
between October 7, 2003 and October 15, 2003 with a representative sample of
1,505 Canadians adults. The survey is considered accurate within +/- 2.5%,
19 times out of 20.

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