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Not all Canadian drivers are sold on winter tires

Canadians say safety is the number one reason they choose to install winter tires

Published: November 29, 2014, 9:20 AM
Updated: June 7, 2015, 9:48 AM

Winter Tire

Almost 58% of Canadians “have installed or plan to install winter tires this season,” according to a survey of more than 2000 respondents conducted by Harris Poll for Bridgestone. They say safety is the number one reason they install winter tires.

But that survey included respondents from Quebec, where winter tires are mandatory. And another survey released last week by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC) revealed that almost half of all Canadians outside Quebec still do not use winter tires.

The TRAC survey showed that 63% of these Canadians believe all-season tires to be “good enough” for winter use, 27% site cost as a barrier to their use and 22% said they do not drive enough in cold-weather months to warrant winter tires.

Glenn Maidment, president of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC), which represents tire makers, said, “The fact that so many drivers are not using winter tires is a clear threat to road safety.”

TRAC quoted results from the Quebec experience and findings by the Traffic Injury Research Association of Canada that showed “today’s high-tech winter tires dramatically outperform all-season tires in all winter driving conditions.”

While “all-season tires are designed with both winter and summer performance in mind, (they) do not offer maximum performance in either season,” Bridgestone says.

The tire maker adds that, while all tire rubber becomes harder as temperatures drop below freezing, the latest generations of winter tires maintain their elasticity even at extremely low temperatures.

That elasticity and the more aggressive tread design of winter tires are attributes that contribute to their superior winter performance.