7 in 10 drivers outside QC now use winter tires

Seven in 10 drivers outside of Quebec now use winter tires, according to a new Leger survey commissioned by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC).

The 2021 Canadian Consumer Winter Tire Study found that 79% of Canadian drivers believe winter tires saved them from a road accident or injury.

“The findings of this year’s winter tire study are great news for wintertime road safety,” said Carol Hochu, President and CEO of TRAC. “Our survey found most Canadian drivers have (a) deep understanding of the superior handling and stopping power of winter tires.”

Furthermore, when not including Quebec (which mandates winter tires), usage stands at 69%—up from 65% in 2020. For the additional 7% of drivers outside Quebec, this winter driving season will be their first time using winter tires.

Hochu notes that two-thirds of drivers using winter tires cite protecting their family as their top reason for investing in them, with winter tire laws, lower auto insurance premiums, and fuel economy as other common motivators.

“The not-so-good news is nearly a third of motorists outside Quebec who choose not to use winter tires still do not understand that the superior traction and stopping power of winter tires is essential for safe winter driving,” said Hochu. “Consumer education is very much needed to encourage a higher level of winter tire adoption.”

TRAC points to a few main reasons for not using winter tires: the belief that all-season tires are good enough (59%), cost (28%) and reduced driving in winter (21%).

Regional findings:

  • 57% of British Columbia drivers use winter tires;
  • 68% of Alberta drivers use them;
  • In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, usage stands at 50%;
  • 73% of Ontario drivers now use winter tires; and
  • In Atlantic Canada, winter tire usage stands at 92%.

The pandemic’s influence on winter driving, although reduced, is still noteworthy:

  • 37% of Canadian drivers said the current crisis will continue to restrict their wintertime driving, versus 65% from the 2020 study.
  • Among drivers 55 years of age and over, approximately 50% plan to limit their winter driving due to the pandemic; and
  • 26% intend to return to pre-COVID levels.

The survey included 1,521 Canadians and was completed online between October 1-3, 2021. The full report is available here.

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