Most Maritimers use winter tires, even though it isn't legally required.
Winter tires should be compulsory given our normal winter weather in Atlantic Canada. So far, only Quebec requires drivers to change to winter tires to reduce accidents. A recent study from the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC) found that 81% of Maritime drivers are using winter tires compared to 68% of drivers nationally. In Quebec, where the mandatory use of winter tires was instituted in 2008, one study found a 5% decline in winter driving accidents. This means that 574 people were spared personal injuries because of car accidents. The study also found a 3% drop in fatal injuries and severe injuries in the Province.
What makes winter tires better?
Tread design and rubber compounds improve traction performance in ice and snow conditions. The softer tread compound allows for increased flexibility which puts more rubber on the road when you need it most. Winter tires are also built to retain their traction at temperatures at or below 7 degrees Celsius, along drivers to keep better control of their vehicle and benefits from drastically improved stopping distances. The President of TRAC, Glenn Maidment recently stated: "The fact that three-in-ten motorists still do not own winter tires poses a threat to all motorists. This is why outreach to educate drivers continues to be needed. Every motorist needs to know that today’s high-tech winter tires radically outperform all-seasons in all cold-weather driving conditions and offer potentially life-saving benefits." Ensuring that our vehicle has good tires doesn't go far enough. To protect against drivers without appropriate tires, or others with unsafe driving habits, increased vigilance is essential. Paying attention to changing weather conditions, the distance between other vehicles, and allowing extra time for stopping will help keep you on the road this winter.
Discounts on winter tires
Some insurers offer a discount to customers who install winter tires. Be sure to check with your insurance company about special incentives. Some retailers will offer deals if you purchase summer and winter tires at the same time. Be sure to check for sales later this winter season as retailers bring in their summer tire stock.