Canadian Underwriter

Winter tire use on the rise, survey finds

December 31, 2021   by Canadian Underwriter Staff

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Insurers will be glad to know consistent messaging about the value of winter tires appears to be working.

An annual survey by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC) found 69% of 1,521 Canadian drivers polled outside Quebec (where the seasonal tire change is mandatory) rely on winter tires. That’s up from 65% in 2020.

What’s more, 79% who have winter tires said they’d prevented them from being in a “potentially hazardous driving situation.”

Usage patterns weren’t consistent across provinces. After Quebec, Atlantic Canada led winter tire loyalty at 92%, followed by 73% in Ontario, 68% in Alberta, 57% in British Columbia and 50% in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The downside, said TRAC, is that 26% of drivers don’t use winter tires and 59% of that group said that all season tires are “good enough.”

A further 28% said cost is a barrier to changing their tires every six months and 21% said they don’t make the change because they don’t drive much during winter.

TRAC president and CEO Carol Hochu said two-thirds of drivers surveyed cited “protecting their family as their top reason for investing in winter tires.” She added winter tire laws, lower auto insurance premiums and fuel economy were also common motivators.