Canadian Underwriter

Only half of Canadians using winter tires: poll

November 19, 2014   by Canadian Underwriter

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The belief that all-season tires are “good enough” is likely behind only 51% of Canadian drivers using winter tires, outside of Quebec where they are mandated, according to a new survey from the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC).

The poll of about 1,000 Canadians asked whether drivers had used the specialized tires this past winter. Outside of Quebec, usage was highest in Atlantic Canada at 73%, followed by 56% in Ontario and 45% in Alberta.

In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 39% of drivers used winter tires, followed by British Columbia at 38%.

Among those Canadians not using winter tires, 63% said they thought all-season tires were good enough for winter driving.

Cost was a barrier for 27% of those not using the tires, while 27% also said they don’t drive enough during winter to need the tires.

Related: Winter Tire Listing [PDF]

“The fact that so many drivers are not using winter tires is a clear threat to road safety,” Glenn Maidment, president of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, which represents tire makers, noted in as statement.

Tires displaying the mountain snowflake symbol meet or exceed industry-established snow traction performance requirements and have been designed specifically for use in cold weather and severe weather conditions.“Today’s high-tech winter tires dramatically outperform all-season tires in all winter driving conditions. Despite all the evidence pointing to the fact that winter tires decrease collisions and reduce personal injury accidents, resistance to adopting winter tires remains strong.”

In Quebec, winter tires have been mandatory since 2008, and a 2011 government survey suggested that road accidents had dropped by 5% in the province since the law was introduced.

Related: Winter Tires Matter Brochure [PDF]

It also suggested that serious injuries and fatalities from winter road accidents had dropped 3%.

The TRAC says that winter tires allow for “superior braking” (shorter stopping distances in the cold and on snowy or icy roads) and can improve fuel economy overall.

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