MISSISSAUGA, Ontario (Dec. 27, 2010)—Nearly half of Canadian motorists use winter tires, according to the Rubber Association of Canada, but the propensity to use them varies widely by province from less than 20 percent in Manitoba to nearly 100 percent in Quebec, where there was mandated starting in 2008.
The RAC released its analysis of available shipment and vehicle registration data to coincide with the Canada Safety Council's National Safe Driving Week, which was initiated to draw attention to winter safety and preparedness.
The national average for winter tire use is 48 precent, the RAC, and this suggests there is much room to grow. The RAC did not disclose comparative numbers from the past, but drew attention instead to the disparity in usage among provinces.
Less than a third of Western Canadians, for example, feel the need to use winter tires, the RAC said, a finding backed up by the data the group presented showing winter use at 31 percent in Alberta, 23 percent in British Columbia and Saskatchewan and just 17 percent in Manitoba.
“There is no question that winter tires, particularly the new generation of tires which have the winter tire compound, are much safer for winter type driving conditions because of their improved traction and stopping ability,” said RAC President Glenn Maidment. “Every region of Canada would improve road safety if they used winter tires.”
Barely one-third of Ontarians use winter tires, the RAC said, a situation that prompted the creation of a Winter Driving Coalition—comprising the Ontario Safety League, the Ontario Hospital Association, the Ontario Trucking Association, Canadian Tire Corp., the Canadian Automobile Association/South Central Ontario and the RAC—that recently called on the Ontario government to implement credits and support insurance premium rebates for drivers who use winter tires.
Since the advent of a law in 2008 mandating winter tires in Quebec, the percentage of cars equipped with snow tires has risen to 98 percent the RAC said. In addition, motorists in the Atlantic Provinces have high usage rates: New Brunswick, 60 percent; Nova Scotia, 56 percent; Newfoundland/Labrador, 44 percent; and Prince Edward Island, 27 percent.