The Rubber Association of Canada

The Rubber Association of Canada

November 19, 2013 07:00 ET

Quebec Drivers the Model for Canada

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Nov. 19, 2013) - Quebec drivers have long led motorists everywhere in Canada in understanding the safety and performance benefits of winter tires in all cold-weather driving conditions.

When Quebec introduced its law on the mandatory use of winter tires in 2008, tire makers estimated that 90 per cent of drivers in the province were already using winter tires, making it by far the largest winter tire market in Canada. In fact, according to The Rubber Association of Canada (RAC), usage of winter tires in Quebec has traditionally surpassed every region in the country by a significant margin.

Outside Quebec, the RAC estimates almost six in ten motorists still do not use winter tires.

Winter tires save lives, reduce collisions

Since the tire law was enacted, research has proven what most Quebec drivers knew all along: winter tires are the safest option for driving in all road conditions during the cold-weather months.

A 2011 study by the ministère des Transports du Québec found that, after the first two seasons of enforcement (winter 2008-2009 and 2009-2010), the total number of road accident victims during winter decreased by five per cent. The study found that the widespread use of winter tires resulted annually in 574 people not suffering an accident. The study also revealed a three per cent reduction in deaths and serious injuries due to road accidents.

Today's advanced technology winter tires provide greater driver control on all cold-weather road surfaces because they feature specialized rubber compounds that retain elasticity at temperatures well below -30°C. By comparison, all-season tires begin to harden and lose their elasticity when temperatures dip to 7°C and below.

Better traction, shorter stopping distances

A recent report by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) concluded that winter tires deliver superior traction, cornering and braking on dry, snowy, ice-covered or slushy road surfaces.

According to the TIRF report, at temperatures just below freezing on dry pavement, stopping distances for vehicles with winter tires can be as much as 30 per cent shorter compared to vehicles equipped with all-season tires. The report also cites research showing that winter tires offer better traction on a snow or ice-covered road surface at well below -30°C than an all-season tire has at 4°C.

"Quebec drivers have clearly led the way in making our roads safer during the cold-weather months and their example has influenced many drivers in other parts of Canada to adopt winter tires", says Glenn Maidment, president of The Rubber Association of Canada.

Pictogram mandatory as of December 15, 2014

Tire makers would like to remind all Quebec drivers that in accordance with the law, as of December 15, 2014, all winter tires installed on passenger vehicles must bear the pictogram of a mountain with a superimposed snowflake. Tires with this pictogram meet or exceed tire industry snow traction requirements.

Winter tire brands that do not have this pictogram on the sidewall will not be considered compliant with the tire law as of December 15, 2014.

"When buying new winter tires, drivers should ensure that the pictogram of the mountain with a superimposed snowflake is on the sidewall," says Maidment. "Consumers who are unsure if their winter tires will be compliant with the tire law after next year's December 15 deadline should consult with their local tire professional."

Studded tires are still recognized as tires specifically designed for winter driving in Quebec, if used in accordance with the Regulation respecting the use of non-skid devices on the tires of certain road vehicles.

Proper tire inflation

Quebec drivers should also be aware that an important key to safe driving in winter is proper tire inflation, which is harder to maintain in winter because of greater temperature fluctuations. Every five degree decrease in temperature results in a loss of about one psi in air pressure. A temperature drop of 15°C, for example, which is common in Quebec's severe winters, typically results in 10 per cent loss of inflation.

Under-inflated tires have a smaller footprint, which weakens their grip. The result is diminished braking and handling characteristics, along with higher fuel consumption due to increased rolling resistance.

During the cold-weather months, tire makers recommend that drivers measure their tire pressures at least once a month using a reliable tire gauge. If the tire is found to be under or over-inflated, the pressure should be adjusted to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended level. The right pressure for a vehicle's tires can be found in the owner's manual or on the vehicle information placard normally located on an inside door jam or inside the fuel door.

Additionally, motorists should be aware that excessive tread wear can diminish traction. Tread depth should always be inspected at the start of the cold-weather driving season.

Learn more about the safety and performance benefits of winter tires. Visit www.rubberassociation.ca.

About The Rubber Association of Canada

The Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) 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. The RAC 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.

Sidebar:

Mandatory pictogram on winter tires

As of December 15, 2014, the Quebec regulation respecting winter tires will require that all winter tires installed on passenger vehicles bear the pictogram of a mountain with a superimposed snowflake.

This distinctive, easy-to-recognize pictogram identifies winter tires that meet or exceed tire industry snow traction requirements.

Studded tires are still recognized as tires specifically designed for winter driving in Quebec, if used in accordance with the Regulation respecting the use of non-skid devices on the tires of certain road vehicles.

Until December 15, 2014, winter tires bearing the following markings on the sidewall will be considered compliant with the tire law:

Alaska LT
Arctic Nordic
A/T or AT Snow (but not mud and snow)
AT/S or AT-S Stud, Studdable, Studded or Studless
Blizzard TS
Cresta Ultra grip
Ice Ultratraction
INSA T1, INSA T2 of INSA TT770 Winter

When buying winter tires, drivers should look for the mandatory pictogram. Motorists who are unsure if their winter tires will be compliant with the law should consult their local tire professional.

Contact Information

  • Sophie Allard, ARP
    ah!com
    514 499-3030, ext. 771
    sa@ahcom.ca