Montreal, November 9, 2020 – Eighty-eight per cent of Quebec drivers believe their winter tires have saved them from a potentially hazardous loss of control or a collision, according to a new Leger survey commissioned by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC), which represents tire makers in Canada.
“It will come as no surprise to Quebecers that winter tires make a profound difference in preventing collisions and saving lives,” says Carol Hochu, incoming president and CEO of TRAC. “Quebecers have long led drivers everywhere in Canada in understanding the superior traction and stopping power of winter tires. Since the winter tire law was enacted in 2008, Quebecers have influenced millions of drivers in the rest of Canada to change over to winter tires. It is fair to say that Quebec drivers have helped make winter driving safer right across Canada.”
Belief that winter tires are the safest option for Quebec’s harsh winters is deeply rooted. Tire makers estimate that 90 per cent of drivers in Quebec were using winter tires prior to the law’s enactment, making it by far the largest winter tire market in the country.
TRAC’s 2020 Consumer Winter Tire Study also found that, outside Quebec, 35 per cent of drivers do not use winter tires. Unfortunately, these drivers are still not taking advantage of the safety and performance benefits offered by winter tires.
Influence of COVID-19
The 2020 winter tire study also examined the influence of COVID-19 on the driving habits of Quebecers. Nearly six-in-ten Quebec drivers (58 per cent) reported driving significantly less because of the pandemic.
TRAC has just released a report featuring the latest winter tire market information and a consumer guide to tire options for winter driving. Visit www.tracanada.ca to read the full 2020 Winter Tire Report.
The choice facing Quebec drivers
Since 2014, winter tires on all Quebec passenger vehicles have been required to display the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol (3PMS). This symbol validates the tire meets or exceeds Transport Canada, Government of Quebec and tire industry snow traction standards.
This means, when purchasing winter tires, Quebecers have two basic choices: all-season tires designed for year-round use with 3PMS (also called “all-weather” tires) and dedicated winter tires designed specifically for use in all cold weather driving conditions.
The distinctions between these two options are not always readily apparent. It is important that tire shoppers understand all-season tires with 3PMS (often called “all-weather” tires), while meeting the definition or a winter tire, are a compromise. All-season tires with 3PMS do offer better traction than all-seasons without 3PMS, but they are designed for year-round use and occasional, moderate snowfalls. This tire category may not provide adequate traction for optimal performance in Quebec’s harsh winter driving conditions.
Dedicated winter tires on the other hand are designed to be used only in winter and feature soft tread compounds that retain flexibility even at temperatures considerably below -30°C. At or below +7°C, the traction capabilities of dedicated winter tires provide greater control on all cold-weather road surfaces and significantly shorter stopping distances whether the road surface is ice, snow or slush covered.
The conclusion is inescapable: superior traction and stopping power make dedicated winter tires hands down the safest choice.
All winter tires manufactured by TRAC member tire makers undergo rigorous and sophisticated testing. The ASTM F-1805 Driving Traction Test is a rigorous, performance-based standard. Only tires with advanced tire designs, treads, and rubber compounds are able to meet and exceed this performance standard. Canadian federal regulation under Transport Canada mandates that all tires that carry the 3PMS symbol in Canada must pass this test.
A survey of 1,523 Canadian drivers, including 413 Quebecers, was completed online between October 2-5, 2020, using Leger’s online panel. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.