New winter tire report says winter tire use gaining traction

Eight-in-ten winter tire owners say winter tires have saved them from a hazardous situation: survey

Winter tire use has risen dramatically over the past five years, but driver education about safety benefits remains essential to wintertime road safety. Three-in-ten drivers outside Quebec still do not use winter tires.

SUBMITTED by Tire and Rubber Association of Canada

Cambridge, November 12, 2019 – Eighty percent of winter tire owners believe driving a vehicle equipped with winter tires has saved them from loss of control or a collision, according to a new Leger survey commissioned by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC)

TRAC’s 2019 Canadian Consumer Winter Tire Study also found that 75 percent of Canadian motorists now use winter tires. Outside Quebec, where winter tires are mandated by law, winter tire usage stands at 69 percent. A similar study commissioned by TRAC in 2014 found that, at that time, only 51 percent of drivers outside of Quebec were equipped with winter tires.

“The millions of Canadian drivers who have adopted winter tires should be credited with preventing countless collisions and saving lives,” says Glenn Maidment, president of TRAC. “But more education is needed to convince the remaining 30 percent of drivers outside of Quebec to seriously consider changing over to winter tires for cold-weather driving. The superior grip and shorter stopping distances provided by winter tires are simply too important to the road safety of all traffic participants to ignore. The fact that 80 percent of winter tire users believe their tires have saved them from loss of control or a collision speaks for itself.”

Regionally, the 2019 study found:

  • 68 percent of British Columbia drivers use winter tires
  • Alberta’s usage rate is 63 percent
  • In Manitoba and Saskatchewan usage stands at 59 percent
  • 69 percent of Ontario drivers now use winter tires
  • In Atlantic Canada, where winter tire usage is surpassed only by Quebec, winter tire usage stands at 91 percent

The most common reasons why nearly a third of drivers still resist winter tires are the belief that all-season tires are good enough (51 percent), reduced driving in winter (18 percent) and cost (17 percent).

To support consumer education, TRAC has just released a new report detailing winter tire use in Canada and the latest market data. Visit to read the full 2019 Winter Tire Report.

The superior performance of winter tires is the result of advanced tread designs and rubber compounds. Winter tires feature softer tread compounds that retain flexibility even in extremely cold conditions. At temperatures at or below 7 degrees Celsius, the traction capabilities of winter tires provide greater grip on all cold-weather road surfaces and significantly shorter stopping distances.

The Quebec experience shows that universal winter tire use results in a five percent reduction in wintertime road collision injuries and a three percent reduction in serious injuries and deaths. (Source: Study by Le ministère des Transports du Québec, 2011)

Survey Methodology

A survey of 1,584 Canadians was completed online between September 27-30, 2019, 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.

This article about the safety and performance benefits of winter tires was written as part of Be Tire Smart, an advocacy campaign by Canada’s tire makers to help drivers make an educated choice about whether they should install winter tires. The campaign has two broad themes: road safety and optimal tire performance during the winter driving season. The outreach campaign is an initiative by The Rubber Association of Canada.

This article is provided as a public service to remind motorists about the importance of winter tires as a winter driving safety essential.

About the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada

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.

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