More and more Canadians across all the provinces in the country are opting for winter tires for their vehicles as the season nears.
This is the finding of a nation wide survey with responses from over 1500 Canadian motorists. According to the survey 61 per cent of Canadian motorists outside Quebec are using winter tires. Respondents revealed that safety and security of the passengers is the major reason why they are adopting winter tires for their vehicles.
Quebec is the only province that has mandatory for motorists to use winter tires in the season, but the survey found that in Atlantic Canada, where winter tire usage is traditionally second only to Quebec, usage has risen eight percentage points to 81 per cent. In British Columbia 49 per cent drivers now own winter tires; in Alberta the proportion is now 55 per cent; while in Manitoba and Saskatchewan usage stands at 50 per cent, while 65 per cent of Ontario drivers now use winter tires.
Factors driving winter tire usage include consumer education by industry and government and provincial financial incentives, such as Manitoba’s low interest winter tire financing program and Ontario’s mandatory auto insurance premium discount.
30 per cent of drivers still not using winter tires, the belief that all-season tires provide sufficient traction (48 per cent) and cost (23 per cent) are the most common barriers to adopting winter tires. A total of 1,518 Canadian motorists responded in the survey.
A study released in 2011 found that universal use of winter tires was responsible for a five per cent decline in winter road-accident injuries. This research concluded that 574 people were spared being involved in a personal injury accident because of universal winter tire use. The study also showed a three per cent drop in deaths and serious road accident injuries.
Rising usage rates for winter tires are the result of significant improvements in tire technology, particularly in tread design and rubber compounds. These advances have improved traction performance across all tire categories, but especially for winter tires. The softer tread compounds in today’s winter tires retain their flexibility even in extreme cold. At temperatures at or below 7 degrees Celsius, winter tires provide significantly better traction than all other types. The result is significantly greater control on all cold-weather road surfaces and shorter stopping distances.