Getting a grip on Canadian winter driving

Shipment data released in Novemeber from the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC)

The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC)

The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC)

Shipment data released in Novemeber from the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC) suggests tire retailers are gearing up for increased consumer demand for winter tires. These shipment increases are due in part to measures by government, industry and stakeholders to educate drivers about the superior traction and stopping distance of winter tires.

The data is part of a comprehensive new Winter Tire Report released by TRAC to support consumer education efforts by government and industry stakeholders.

The report details the latest winter tire shipment, market, usage and test data, along with recommendations to increase winter road safety and build awareness of the benefits of winter tires.

In particular, TRAC reports there has been significant growth in winter tire shipments to dealers, with a 35 per cent increase in Manitoba, a 25 per cent increase in Ontario, and a 14 per cent increase in the Atlantic provinces.

There are many reasons why tire dealers are ramping up for increased consumer demand for winter tires, but it is no coincidence that it is the provinces who are showing leadership in terms of government programs are also showing the largest increases in winter tire shipments.

• In Manitoba, the provincial government implemented an innovative low-interest winter tire financing program in 2014 and is continuing the program for the 2015/16 winter.

• In Ontario, the provincial government recently introduced a mandatory insurance discount program for drivers who use winter tires as part of their initiative to improve road safety and to lower insurance premiums for Ontario drivers.

A 2014 survey conducted by Leger for TRAC, shows that outside of Quebec, where winter tires are the law, only half of Canadian motorists use winter tires.

The survey found cost to be a primary deterrent. However, financial incentives offered by government and industry, are proving effective at making winter tires more feasible for many drivers.

“For the safest and very best winter driving experience, we recommend that motorists use winter tires,” says Carolyn Goard, Communications Manager of TRAC. “Government initiatives are working and that’s leading to growing demand and making our roadways safer. As an industry, we will continue to do our part to educate drivers about the importance of using winter tires.”

Other highlights of the report include:

• Role of government is key. Government leaders are playing a proactive role in encouraging Canadian motorists to use winter tires. Through education and incentives, they are helping to reduce preventable collisions, injuries and fatalities.

• Easy to recognize labeling. Tires that display the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol (also referred to as the ‘Alpine Symbol’) on the sidewall have been rigorously tested and meet specific snow traction performance requirements.

• Misconceptions persist. While there is a growing understanding from consumers of the safety and performance benefits of winter tires, 63 per cent still cling to the idea that all-season tires offer sufficient traction and braking capabilities for winter driving. Data shows that’s just not true and that winter tires save lives.

• Temperature is everything with winter tires. At temperatures at or below 7 degrees Celsius, winter tires significantly outperform all others. Winter tires provide superior traction in cold-weather because they feature a softer tread compounds that maintain flexibility.

• Provincial governments are doing their part. Government jurisdictions across Canada are proactively promoting road safety in the winter. Consumer education resources, financial incentives — among other initiatives — are helping to increase winter tire adoption nation-wide.

The full 2015 TRAC Winter Tire Report, along with a wide range of winter tires resources, can be viewed by visiting

The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC) is the national trade association representing tire makers, rubber products manufacturers and importers as well as rubber recyclers and suppliers of goods and services related to the industry. TRAC is committed to educating drivers about proper tire care and maintenance. A key advocacy goal in the cold-weather months is to raise awareness about safe winter driving and the safety and performance benefits of winter tires.

Twitter: @BeTireSmartCA

Facebook: Be Tire Smart Canada

YouTube: Be Tire Smart Canada

LinkedIn: Tire and Rubber Association of Canada


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