December 28, 2018

Where’s Canada’s nanny state when the rubber meets the road? Why winter tires should be mandatory

David MenziesMission Specialist

Stating the painfully obvious, Canada and therefore Canadian roads, get cold and snowy but despite this, every winter too few motorists aside from those in the province of Quebec, have their vehicles decked out with winter tires. But why?

We’re often told driving is a privilege, not a right. Several jurisdictions already tell us what we can and cannot do behind the wheel, be it anti-idling bylaws or hands-free cellphone laws, and we’re told ad nauseum that safety trumps all.

But, if that’s the case, why the hesitation to implement mandatory winter tire laws in all provinces as opposed to just in Quebec?

When you think about it, a mandatory winter tire law makes far more sense than a mandatory seatbelt law since the consequences of going into a skid on an icy road due to inappropriate rubber could end up harming someone other than yourself.

Part of the blame goes to tire manufacturers for coming up with the worst descriptor ever coined — “all season” tires. Unless you live in a place like Florida, those “all-season” tires are really only “three-season” tires.

There are several good reasons to hope that more provinces follow Quebec’s example – as well as the example set by no fewer than 17 European nations — by making winter tires mandatory for all.

It’s hard to argue against such legislation given that it makes so much sense to have winter tires from a safety, performance and even economic angle so where the heck is the Nanny State when you really need her?

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commented 2019-01-03 10:31:21 -0500
76 yrs old. Lived in all prairie provinces. Driven in rear wheel, front wheel and 4 wheel drive. Snow tires are good for stopping but so is gearing down. Snow tires I would recommend for the inexperienced or non-confident driver. Choice of tires very important if choosing all season. Have had good experience with a few brands. Most important is to understand traction, present conditions, anticipate what other drivers might do, ie leave enough space in front of you at intersections to safely stop keeping in mind traffic behind you. Personally I feel no need of ‘snow tires’ and do not need the extra expense. Note snow tires stop better but are lousy when going through deeper snow. They are directional. So do you want better traction or quicker stopping? Could go on but to sum up . . . discretion by the driver and his/her ability should be the rule of the day. Personally I do just fine on all seasons. Don’t want mandatory, knee jerk laws made by jerks to tell me how to drive as if I can’t figure out best options for individual circumstances. Know your vehicle. Test road conditions. leave adequate room for the unexpected, be patient, courteous and don’t be spinning or sliding.
commented 2019-01-02 20:49:27 -0500
Well because, if you put winters on and it gets warmer they wear twice as fast. AWD is fine with AS tires. People start skidding and stop driving, if they ever could. Québécois are bad drivers, forcing my costs up. I learned to drive drunk on ice tracks in Northern Alberta. I just don’t lose control whatever the circumstances. Don’t blame the tires. I’ve driven through every unimaginable driving situation, things that would make you scream. We need better drivers.
commented 2019-01-02 11:40:25 -0500
Are you fucking kidding me? Stay to hell out of my life with your government mandated laws. I can’t believe the Rebel is promoting the nanny state. We’re doomed!!
commented 2019-01-02 09:01:21 -0500
In my case, mandatory winter tires would put me in harms way. I ensure my tires have a decent tread first. Then when I leave for Florida from The GTA, in December, in my 4 wheel drive SUV I might get some snow and if there is a lot I will stop and wait it out. If it does not snow and I have winter tires on my SUV I will lose braking distance and my snows will get so hot they might blow up at 70 mph. What do you want me to do, put regular tires in my SUV and then change in South Carolina!? It is safer for me to keep tires with the snowflake on my vehicle. At least I know My stopping distance will be maximum. Mandatory winter tires is a bad idea for thousands of snowbirds. My other car, a hybrid, is stored for the winter and so it doesn’t need snows either. ALSO, why should I lose the 5% mandatory Ontario discount on insurance for those who have snow tires?
commented 2019-01-01 16:08:19 -0500
Been using winter tires for many years. I would highly recommend them but not so sure the government should be involved in this.
commented 2018-12-31 10:46:17 -0500
Charred Remains; I too travel at least 1ce a month on that highway to Red Deer and it’s downright scary at how people drive. Have often passed those so-called 4×4′s in the ditch – you know the ones that passed you approx. 10 mins. before going an excessive rate of speed in extremely slippery/snowy conditions. Guess they too feel invincible! I just laugh my head off and continue on my merry way. Usually get to where I’m going too.
commented 2018-12-31 10:41:50 -0500
After watching a TV show about the pros and cons of winter tires, I decided to purchase winter tires and couldn’t believe the difference they make. Now I always purchase winter tires for any newer vehicle I buy. An industry analyst stated that some insurance companies (and he anticipated all of them) will eventually not cover someone who has an accident in winter if they don’ have winter tires on their vehicle.

As to leaning how to “drive” in the winter, I was born & raised in Northern Alberta so I had to lean how to drive in winter in order to survive LOL. It’s the “other guy” that I watch for, thank you very much!
commented 2018-12-31 06:35:58 -0500
I’ve driven for 20 years in Saskatchewan and five in Alberta, averaged 180,000 kilometers per year for 10 of those years, hit the ditch only once (during a zero visibility blizzard minutes before the highway was closed), and only had winter tires for one of those years (the year I hit the ditch by the way). Like this video, I believed the lies told to me by others about the amazing added benefit of winter tires, but found little to no difference once the tires of the vehicle were warm. I’d recommend learning to drive in winter.
commented 2018-12-30 02:39:49 -0500
A bigger aggravation for me are Anti Lock Brakes. 95% of the time I could stop shorter than those idiotic things. They allow you to steer, I’m told. Yeah and they allow you to not stop and slide into intersections and stopped traffic. A real brain wave that one.
commented 2018-12-30 02:36:00 -0500
When I bought our CRV the tires were all season garbage. I did an online search and bought Nokian snow tires. What an improvement. It was like replacing 4 hockey pucks and putting on studded tires. No comparison at all. I still don’t like Big Brudder dictating that I have to.
commented 2018-12-28 23:56:24 -0500
Most tires these days are ripoffs, and good many of them are under recall, and some places even continue to sell them even after they’ve been recalled. Good tires or bad tires, are going to make a bad driver good.
commented 2018-12-28 22:21:02 -0500
Charred Remains: Yes,I should have clarified the 4 wheel drive portion of my comment.The vehicles I saw in the ditches were not the traditional 4 × 4 type.They were,indeed,the short wheel base all wheel drive types that usually pass me at a high rate of speed….especially in foul weather….because their vehicle has made them invincible….
commented 2018-12-28 22:12:03 -0500
Bruce: The safety issue is the amount of homo sapiens who get behind the wheel of a vehicle and do not have clue what driving is…..
No amount of Nanny State intervention will help….it is impossible to fix / modify / adjust or tweak stupid…….
commented 2018-12-28 19:42:27 -0500
I never thought I’d find something good about the nanny state. Winter tires are a safety issue.
commented 2018-12-28 17:50:58 -0500
Winter tires were invented to sell more tires just like climate change/global warming was invented to justify increasing taxes and diamond rings to sell more diamonds. The ability of the human (oops huperson) race is its ability to adapt. Personal responsibility does not require the nanny state to replace it with laws. Let it bubble wrap itself not us. It is getting to the point that a yellow vest will be the peoples choice of garment.
commented 2018-12-28 17:04:01 -0500
Sorry David Menzies….wrong answer.There are numerous problems with your approach.The most glaring problem is the very problem we already have with the “Nanny State”.WE WILL DECIDE WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU…..
We have already had far too much of this with previous Ontario governments and it is a habit with federal governments as well.
Make your own decisions and choices and live by the results.It is called responsibility…
Mandatory seat belt use,helmets etc….take them off the books.Personal choice.Yes…they can save lives…but they also cost lives.My wife would not be alive today,if she had been using her seat belt in 1977.She was the victim of a horrific broadside(driver door) crash.Our Datsun hatchback was almost entirely crushed.She was thrown against the passenger door and suffered a broken pelvis…but the alternative was instant death…this statement was made by the officers and emergency crew on the scene.(They still ticketed her for no seat belt…)
About a year later,the young girl who babysat my sister-in-law’s child died BECAUSE she had her seat belt on.Her car ended upside down(no vehicle damage at all) in the ditch in the spring of the year and she drowned.The officers and emergency staff agreed that she was unable to free herself from the seat belt.The same thing happened to a rural mail driver when I worked at the post office.She drowned as well…in a ditch full of spring water.That vehicle was not upside down….she likely panicked trying to get the seat belt off.
Aside from this,there are many instances when winter tires are not always a better choice.I have always run “all season radials” on my 1/2 ton with no issues.This is a combination of things…..testing road conditions…careful,cautious driving…600 lbs. of ballast in the box for traction…extra caution for very stupid drivers(many of these are driving 4 wheel drive vehicles with 4 winter tires)……
commented 2018-12-28 16:15:11 -0500
No sane person wants the heavy jackboot of the state on their necks, but, living in the BC interior, I’d have to be insane to drive around without snow tires and chains in the winter, and I was born and raised in Toronto, back when they used to have real winters…
Menzoid makes a good point about the innocent victims of snow tireless drivers…I’ve seen the carnage.
Speaking of observed carnage, I don’t use the Coquihalla (#5) in the winter because of all the fools from the Left Coast (Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island) who drive crazy, and without snow tires! Vancouver with a half inch of snow overnight – Ha ha ha ha ha!
Highway 20, West of Williams Lake to Bella Coola, is marked, ‘snow tires and/or chains are mandatory from this date to that’, as are many other interior highways. I appreciate the warning…
It’s kinda like drunk drivers…take them off the road, but not at the expense of my freedom!
commented 2018-12-28 15:14:10 -0500
I would suggest that you have some statistics to make your claims on the need for
winter tires, have never had them, I test road conditions for stopping , If you really believe
the state should control all safety where would it stop? Motor Cycles ? Bus seat belts
yellow jackets for road emergency co2 detectors in the car ? What criteria risk factors,
climate change , fellow drivers? Or just your opinion with no risk score card? Life is a risk
and the government is always the best arbitrator. Good Luck with that.
commented 2018-12-28 14:36:22 -0500
The nanny state always has been hypocrite as it can be. Speeding, seat belt huge issue, no signaling broken lights shitty tires don’t matter
commented 2018-12-28 13:42:33 -0500
Winter tires are also bad on roads that have been salted an the snow has cleared, leaving them slippery. (See LEE STOREY commented 1 hour ago.)
commented 2018-12-28 13:22:22 -0500
BC also mandates winter tires, and tire chains for commercial vehicles from Oct 1 to spring… i myself am guilty of not using winter tires… until i got married… winter tires on her rav 4 and all terrains on my grande cherokee… both have the mountain/snowflake on the sidewall… i got winter tires more for my peace of mind… my wife feels safer with winter tires…
commented 2018-12-28 13:02:18 -0500
I wonder what Liberal connected company would get the contract to supply the government mandated winter tires, if this stupidity goes forth?
commented 2018-12-28 12:38:15 -0500
Your wrong on this one Living in the country soft winter tires wouldn’t last 5000 miles on gravel roads another fact winter tires are the worst tire for stopping on dry pavement.if you want winter tires put them on
commented 2018-12-28 12:38:01 -0500
Did you know the google search “Best all weather tire for snow” is a thing?