As Canada Moto Guide notes, much of Europe already has laws in place to require the use of winter tires for all vehicles in specific months. This alone takes a lot of motorcycles off of roads. However, some governments want to take it a step further: A couple of years ago, Quebec proposed a ban on motorcycles from its roads entirely during the winter months. During a cold ride to a flight lesson I realized it’s not entirely crazy.
Nokian Tyres is releasing what the company calls its new flagship product: the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 10 studded tire for passenger cars and SUVs.
The company says the tire’s double-stud technology is suitable for all winter conditions and offers balanced grip and controlled handling on ice, snow, and bare roads alike.
Outside of laws mandating the use of winter tires, the most influential factor leading Canadians to install them is family and friends.
A recent survey of Canadian car owners found that while more than 80% of Canadians driving with winter tires say they prevented a collision, only about 65% of drivers in this country actually use them when they’re not mandated.
Leger’s 2020 Canadian Consumer Winter Tire Study, commissioned by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC), found that outside of Quebec, where winter tire usage is mandated by law, a third of Canadians still fail to see the benefits.
Among the findings is which factors motivate drivers to opt for winter tires. There are really no surprises in the list of top motivators:
• Winter tire laws (34%)
• Advice from friends and family (17%)
• Lower auto insurance premiums (11%)
• Media coverage (7%)
Selecting the right set of winter tires for your vehicle can be a daunting task — especially if you’re a first-time winter-tire user with minimal real-world experience on which to draw for your decision. After all, winter tires exist across a wide range of prices, styles, and intentions, with some better-suited to certain conditions and vehicles than others.
The 1950s police drama “Dragnet” inspired several catch phrases including “The story you are about to see is true”, “We were working the day watch”, and my personal favourite “Just the facts, ma’am”. Apparently, Sergeant Joe Friday, a fictional character created and portrayed by Jack Webb, never actually said “Just the facts, ma’am” but somehow it stuck. What is sticking in my mind these days are important facts related to winter tire usage in Canada from TRAC’s recently released 2020 Canadian Consumer Winter Tire Study, and supported by other studies from Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and Manitoba Public Insurance. In keeping with the Dragnet theme, “The facts you are about to read are true”:
Manitoba Public Insurance analyzed collision claims over a 6-year period (insurance years 2011-12 to 2017-18). The claim frequency was measured by comparing claim frequency before and after a winter tire purchase for 111,872 vehicles. Of those vehicles, there were 13,925 winter-month claims occurring before winter tires were installed and 9,802 winter-month claims occurring after winter tires were installed, stated the report.
Based on analysis of winter month claims (November to March), winter tire use is estimated to reduce collision claim frequency by 6.3 per cent.
The analysis also concluded that in the instance of a collision, damage severity was 5.7 per cent lower for the vehicle equipped with winter tires, compared to the vehicle which did not have winter tires. The lower severity for claims with winter tires was consistent for both single and multiple vehicle collisions.
If haven’t got your winter tires on now, you may have to wait a while. Thanks to COVID-19, there could be a decrease in supply. Production slowed down once lockdowns went into effect last spring. Plus, closures meant some drivers couldn’t visit mechanics and spent the summer driving on their winter tires; now, those tires will need to be replaced. In the last few weeks, there has been a rush to get winter tires put on.
…One of the most common winter rituals is switching all-season and summer performance tires out in favour of those designed specifically for winter driving. The reasons for doing so might appear obvious, given Canadian winters are quite long and cold with heavy snowfall accumulation, but I’m going to outline the main benefits of winter tire use along with other factors to consider when making the switch.
Long, cold, snowy winters are familiar to most Canadians, except perhaps those who would typically head to warmer climates around this time of year. But, border closures, travel restrictions and safe choices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 mean most snowbirds are staying north of the border this year. Many Vancouver Island campgrounds are reporting unprecedented winter bookings with several managing waitlists to accommodate the influx of those looking for a more temperate Canadian winter experience. But, for these snowbirds, winter driving conditions may come as a bit of a surprise even with choosing the west coast to ride out winter 2020/2021.
Ontario auto clients should start thinking soon about their seasonal tire change, an executive with Gore Mutual suggests.
“As we get further into fall and temperatures begin to drop below seven degrees Celsius, motorists should definitely begin thinking about changing to winter tires. In southwestern Ontario, this change in weather typically happens around mid- to late-October,” Gavin Brown-Jowett, Gore Mutual’s vice president of personal lines and SME Transformation, told Canadian Underwriter Tuesday.