Winter Tire Usage Outside of Quebec is Increasing

Outside Quebec, where winter tires are mandated by law, winter tire usage is up from 65 percent last year to 69 percent this year, according to a new Leger survey commissioned by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). In fact, 7 percent of drivers in the rest of Canada say this upcoming season will be their first using winter tires.

The TRAC’s 2021 Canadian Consumer Winter Tire Study also found that 79 percent of all Canadian motorists believe driving a vehicle equipped with winter tires has saved them from a road accident or injury.

“The findings of this year’s winter tire study are great news for wintertime road safety,” says Carol Hochu, president and CEO of TRAC. “Our survey found most Canadian drivers have deep understanding of the superior handling and stopping power of winter tires. Two-thirds of drivers riding on winter tires cite protecting their family as their top reason for investing in winter tires. Winter tire laws, lower auto insurance premiums and fuel economy were other common motivators.”

The not-so-good news is that nearly a third of motorists outside of Quebec who choose not to use winter tires don’t understand that the superior traction and stopping power of winter tires is essential for safe winter driving, so consumer education is still very much needed, Hochu adds.

Based on the survey, the biggest reasons for not using winter tires are the belief that all-season tires are good enough (59 percent), cost (28 percent) and reduced driving in winter (21 percent).

Photo: Sylvain Raymond

Winter Tire Use by Region:

  • British Columbia – 57 percent
  • Alberta – 68 percent
  • Manitoba and Saskatchewan – 50 percent
  • Ontario – 73 percent
  • Atlantic Canada – 92 percent

Nothing Better Than Dedicated Winter Tires

Driving on all-season tires in winter months results in longer stopping distances and compromised handling when temperatures fall below 7 degrees Celsius. All-season tires with the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol 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 severe winter driving conditions common on Canadian roads.

On the other hand, dedicated winter tires feature softer tread compounds that retain their elasticity even in extremely cold temperatures. They provide superior traction and significantly shorter stopping distances in all winter driving conditions from icy, slushy, and snow-covered roads to cold, dry pavement.

Got the message?

Share on Facebook

More on the subject

Pre-owned vehiclesIs Your Vehicle Ready For Winter?
Winter is right around the corner and if your vehicle is not one of 835,000 cars or so that are stored each winter in Quebec, it is important to prepare it adequately to face our bitter winter climate. So, after thorough fall maintenance comes a proper winter preparation. What does …
TiresTop 10: Best Winter Tires for Cars and Small SUVs, 2021-2022
Setting up our winter tire evaluations at the end of last winter wasn’t easy due to the various COVID-19 measures. With a curfew still in effect, we had little time during the day to get to our locations. Furthermore, we had to move some of the testing to the Outaouais …
NewsWinter Tires: Don't Wait For the First Snowfall
In partnership with The cold season is approaching, and winter tires are mandatory on all passenger vehicles in Quebec starting December 1st. Auto dealers and tire retailers will generally give you the same advice: don't shop and book an installation appointment at the last minute! The tire industry is …
Tires8 Great Tips and Reminders for Winter Tire Buyers
October is typically a good time to perform fall maintenance and prepare your vehicle for the cold season, including scheduling an appointment to have your winter tires installed. Car owners in need of a new set of tires shouldn’t waste any time, especially this year. As previously reported, the tire …
TiresAll-Wheel Drive vs. Winter Tires: Which One is Best?
Winter tires are mandatory in Quebec (Dec.1-Mar.15) and British Columbia (Oct.1-Apr.30), but not in other Canadian provinces. And yet, their safety benefits over all-season tires have been demonstrated many times over. Now, a lot of drivers across the country are arguing that all-wheel drive is more effective than winter tires …