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Motorcycle Mouth: The truth about winter tires


Look out your back window. What do you see? If it's similar to my "panoramic" view – I live in a small townhouse complex – these are two narrow park chairs, a picnic table, and a barbecue covered by 10 centimeters of feathered white objects. Like everyone else, I was surprised by the sudden arrival of winter.

However, his early arrival does not forgive our eternal unpreparedness for winter, and nothing is truer than our ongoing refusal to buy winter tires. Indeed, if the recent Consumer Winter Tire survey by the Canadian Tire and Rubber Association (TRAC) is believed, we Canadians are not nearly as pragmatic and practical as we would like them to be.

Surprise surprise

Care to guess which province offers the least transition to snow tires during winter? British Columbia, because, as told by the Left Coasters, winter is almost non-existent west of the Rockies? No, 68 percent of BCers turn to snow for winter. Quebec? Impossible! Snow tires are required to enter la belle province between 15 December (this year, 1 December) and 15 March, so they have a 96 percent conversion rate. No, the area most underestimating snow tires that increase traction is …

Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Yes, the two provinces with the harshest winters in a country that is already covered with snow. The region was so cold that even the locals called the capital of Manitoba 'Winterpeg'. In fact, according to TRAC research in October, almost no more than half of Westerners who switch to suitable car shoes comes the first snowstorm. Anyone with a logical answer to the behavior, please contact me. I would love to hear a reasonable explanation of what seems like clear ignorance.

First, it is not about snow

The need for an aggressive tread pattern is more than obvious when there are snow feet covering the road. What most drivers don't seem to understand, is that winter tires have softer rubber that offers much better traction below 7 degrees Celsius, even when the road is dry (ie, not covered with snow, ice, or even wet mud) ). According to most studies, the benefits of winter tires approved in a dry road as much as 25 percent. For some contexts, imagine you are following 18 wheels at a speed of 80 km / h. The theoretical advantage of 25 percent to date will very quickly become a very sudden difference between being able to stop just a little from its rear wheels and ending up with an accordion under the hindrance of its rear trailer.

Money is not an excuse

Back to the hidden surprises in the TRAC study. Province where motorcyclists complain that winter tires are too expensive? Ontario Yes, Canada's richest province before. By contrast, the Canadian who complained the least about the high cost of the second rubber set was Maritimer. Yes, in the Atlantic Province – too often underestimated by us in Ontario as "not having" Canada – only seven percent of respondents don't use winter tires because the price is too expensive. Citizens of Ontarians, who always brag about the province as Canada's driving engine, use that reason more than triple.

To 22 percent of Ontarians surveyed, I say Malarkey. For one thing, since 2016, Ontario insurance companies have been required to give drivers discounts on their premiums if they change tires for winter. In Manitoba – yes, a windy winter wonderland where 59 percent of respondents say that all seasons are "good enough" – the government offers up to $ 2,000 in low-interest loans (prime plus two percent) to anyone who buys the second set of tires.

Apart from that, as Motorcycle Mouth It has long been argued, if you will have your new car for more than four years, chances are you will need a second set of tires at any time in its lifetime. Why not just buy one set when you negotiate with your dealer? This will almost certainly give you a good price on what will be "added value." They might even finance purchases through your new car loan.

The insurance company cheated us

As I mentioned, insurance companies in Ontario provide discounts for cars that use snow tires in winter. But the word rebate is usually less than five percent. Imagine, if the government mandates that car insurance companies must provide a minimum incentive of 10 percent to car owners to change tires every spring and fall. Work through the figures – using an average of $ 1,500 per year annual premium, $ 900 for a set of snow and an average six year ownership period – rebates will only cover the costs of your winter tires. And, because you almost certainly need a second set of tires in that six year period, you are actually almost $ 1,000 for good stuff.

Regarding the refusal of the insurance company to offer such a discount, I call it cheating. The guarantor has offered a discount to consumers for installing a computerized monitor – or, as my friend (and fellow Drive contributor) Lorraine Sommerfeld called them, "snitch boxes" – in their cars as if they were reducing collision claim payments. According to industry figures alone – I use Aviva – between December and February, accident claims in Canada jumped by no less than 49 percent. If, like Quebec – a province that requires the use of snow tires – claims, collisions and deaths fall significantly with the use of appropriate tires, the cost of discounted snow tires must more than pay for itself. Of course, that would require car insurance companies to really care about serving their customers.

By the way, 4WD is not the answer

Let's settle this – and I suspect I'm pointing some of my Manitoban friends here: Having all four wheels connected to the engine doesn't help braking on snowy roads, which, as mentioned, can take 25 to 35 percent longer with all seasons . With better handling, cornering traction has nothing to do with whether your vehicle is only driving two, or all four wheels.

Supporting this logic is some research from the Nokian tire company that says 4×4 numbers and SUVs disproportionately end up in the gutter during an early winter blizzard. The illusion of AWD superiority is so strong, that the University of Michigan's Department of Sustainable Transportation, John Woodrooffe said, "four-wheeled vehicles have a greater risk in slippery conditions due to inaccurate driver perceptions of braking and cornering capabilities based on improved acceleration performance compared to two-wheeled vehicles . "In other words, what 4WD does is just make you reach accident speed faster.

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