Bad winter driving? It's not me, it's you

As Albertans prepare for another plunge in temperatures, so too are they bracing for a (perceived) decline in driving skills — just not their own. A recent Alberta Motor Association survey found just 19% of motorists feel confident in other people’s winter driving, even as 92% profess confidence in their own ability to defy snow, ice and low visibility.

Men are slightly more prone to see winter driving as their strong suit, rating themselves 6.3 to women’s 5.6 on a seven-point confidence scale. Where men and women are in closer agreement is their dim view of other drivers, giving confidence ratings of 3.6 and 3.3, respectively.

“When it comes to bad winter driving, the mentality is, ‘It’s not me, it’s you,’” says Ryan Lemont, Manager of AMA Driver Education. “We tend to overlook our own driving errors but are quick to notice the mistakes of others — and that’s not a great foundation for improving safety.”

Heading into holiday travel season, one the best ways to increase roadworthiness is swapping to winter tires, which provide better traction on snow and ice, reduce stopping distance, and sharpen directional control. About two-thirds of Alberta drivers take this precaution (67%).

Of the drivers that don’t make the switch, three quarters (76%) say their current tires do just fine, and more than half (53%) think their vehicle’s all-wheel drive compensates for a lack of winter rubber. Other common reasons include expense (25%) and the inconvenience of swapping (24%).

As for making motorists themselves more winter-ready, AMA finds one of the biggest contributing factors is conscientiousness.

“A handful of simple safety steps can greatly reduce your chance of an incident,” says Lemont. “Increase your following distance, allow extra time so you aren’t rushed, drive to conditions, and ensure your tires are properly inflated.”


The online survey of 1,900 Albertans was fielded between Oct. 18 and Oct. 29, 2019.


To read AMA’s winter driving safety advice, head here.

To request an interview on winter driving tips, contact the AMA Newsroom

1.888.960.6397 | ama.newsroom@ama.ab.ca

About AMA

The Alberta Motor Association (AMA) is among the largest membership organizations in Alberta, representing more than 975,000 members. As a leading advocate for traffic safety, travel and consumer protection and crime prevention, AMA represents the interests of its members to industry and all levels of government and helps protect the things they care about most. Visit ama.ab.ca to learn more about AMA’s products, services and member advocacy efforts.