Three-in-four Canadians now using winter tires: survey

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As we all know, winter in Canada is brutal—it’s hard on people and hard on cars, but it’s even harder on your car if you crash it.

That’s why more drivers should be using winter tires, and, according to a recent survey, why they are.

About 76 per cent of Canadians say they use winter tires on their cars, the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada’s (TRAC) 2018 Canadian Consumer Winter Tire Study has found.

And of those respondents, eight out of 10 say there have been times when they’ve needed their winter tires to regain control and prevent a collision. The numbers are up from 2016, when only 66 per cent of Canadians were using winter tires, so the message is getting out there.

“Canadian drivers who have embraced winter tires have spoken and provided this very telling insight,” says Glenn Maidment, president of TRAC.

“They confirmed what we already know—that the superior performance of winter tires has a place in Canada, and that their greater grip and significantly shorter stopping distances on all cold-weather road surfaces keep Canadians safer on winter roads.”

Most Canadians who don’t use winter tires cite their belief that all-seasons are “good enough,” or that purchasing winter tires is too expensive. (Others said they simply do not drive in the winter.)

Winter tires offer superior grip when temperatures drop below seven degrees Celsius; at that point, when regular tires start to get hard, winter tires remain soft and malleable, allowing them to actually grip onto the snow and ice and use it to maintain grip.

The province that see the highest winter tire usage in Canada is Quebec, where switching to the tires is mandatory. Provincial research shows that universal winter tire usage resulted in a five-percent reduction of road accidents and a three-percent reduction in deaths and serious injuries.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba saw the lowest usage rate for winter tires, with only 60 per cent of drivers equipping their vehicles with the seasonally appropriate rubber there. Ontario’s usage rate came in at 69 percent—nice.

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