A new Leger survey commissioned as part of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada’s (TRAC) 2020 Canadian Consumer Winter Tire Study reveals that 72 percent of vehicle owners across the country now opt for winter tires during the cold season.
Outside of Quebec, where winter tires are mandated by law, 65 percent of drivers are using them.
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Here’s a regional breakdown:
Moreover, the TRAC survey shows that 81 percent of winter tire owners believe driving a vehicle equipped with winter tires has saved them from a loss of control or a severe collision.
“Canadian drivers have spoken and our study shows clearly that winter tires make a profound difference in preventing collisions and saving lives,” says Carol Hochu, incoming president and CEO of TRAC. “Yet more consumer education is clearly needed to raise awareness of the superior grip and stopping power of tires designed specifically for Canadian winters. The study’s most surprising finding is that two-thirds of those not using winter tires think all-seasons are good enough.”
The most common reasons why 35 percent of drivers outside of Quebec do not use winter tires are the belief that all-season tires are good enough, reduced driving in winter and higher cost.
The TRAC warns that driving on all-season tires in winter months results in longer stopping distances and compromised handling when temperatures fall below 7 degrees. All-season tires with the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol (often called “all-weather” tires) offer moderately better traction than other all-season tires, but they are designed for occasional, medium snowfalls and may not provide the grip needed for rigorous winter driving conditions.
On the other hand, dedicated winter tires feature softer tread compounds that retain their flexibility even in extremely cold temperatures (well below -30 degrees). They provide superior traction and significantly shorter stopping distances in all winter driving conditions.