October 6, 2016 by Canadian Underwriter
The Government of Manitoba’s goal to enhance road safety is advancing with the announcement that 53,000-plus loans have been processed for provincial residents taking advantage of the low-interest Winter Tire Program.
Helping Manitobans equip their vehicles with snow tires, the ultimate goal of the program is fewer winter collisions and safer roads, Crown services minister Ron Schuler and Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) have jointly announced.
Now entering its third year, the program provides loans of as long as 48 months at prime, plus 2% up to $2,000 per vehicle, notes a statement posted on MPI’s website. The average length of a winter tire loan is currently about three years and the average loan amount is approximately $1,200.
“With colder temperatures and the fall season now here, Manitoba vehicle owners are strongly encouraged to winter harden their vehicles before the arrival of harsher weather,” Schuler says in the statement.
At temperatures just below freezing on dry pavement, notes the MPI information, “winter tires have been shown to reduce stopping distances by as much as 30% compared with all-season tires.”
In addition, winter tires offer significantly better traction on snow-covered or icy road surfaces at temperatures well below -30 C than all-season tires have at 4 C.
Results of a Tire and Rubber Association of Canada surveyed released in Nov. 2014 indicated the belief that all-season tires are “good enough” is likely behind the fact that just 51% of polled Canadian drivers were using winter tires, outside of Quebec where they are mandated, at the time.
Outside of Quebec, usage was highest in Atlantic Canada at 73%, followed by 56% in Ontario, 45% in Alberta, 39% each in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and 38% in B.C.
“Road safety should be a priority of everyone who travels on our roadways,” Ward Keith, MPI’s vice president of business development and communications and chief product officer, says in the statement.
“Reducing fatalities and injuries is a goal which can be achieved when everyone makes the commitment to safety and preparing for winter with the use of winter tires is one way to keep our roads safe,” Keith continues.
Almost 600 retailers are participating throughout Winnipeg and rural Manitoba. More information on the program rules and retailers is available on MPI’s website at mpi.mb.ca.
In British Columbia, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure recently issued its own reminder to motorists that the province’s winter tire rules took effect Oct. 1. The tires must be used on designated highways from Oct. 1 through Mar. 31.
Drivers must equip their vehicles with winter tires if they plan to travel on certain highways in B.C.’s North, the Interior, the South Coast and Vancouver Island.
Those who fail to do with proper winter tires on the designated routes can receive a fine of $121, while drivers who do not have the minimum tread depth on their tires (3.5 millimetres) on the designated routes can be fined $109.