Winter tires should be mandatory in Canada’s northwestern Yukon territory, says Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Cpl. Shawn Pollard, head of the RCMP’s Yukon traffic unit.
He says all-season tires are fine for winter in southern Canadian cities like Toronto but not for northern regions like the Yukon.
“Quite often we see vehicles in the ditch or colliding with other vehicles that are running on all-season tires or very poor tires,” he said.
Yukon driver Jesse Winter says he’s never had a problem with all-season tires and doesn’t think a law requiring the use of winter tires is necessary. He says driving safely is more important than driving with winter tires.
“The biggest problem with winter driving is that a lot of people just don’t drive to the conditions,” he said. “They think, ‘Oh oh I’ve got a big SUV, I should just be able to drive the same as I do on dry roads.'”
Pollard agrees driving to the conditions is important but says that’s not enough.
“As it gets colder, an all-season tire just gets harder and harder, while a winter tire — the composition of it will be much softer and it will grip much better.”
There are few statistics on the effectiveness of winter tires but the Quebec government released a study in 2011 showing winter accidents decreased by 17 per cent after a 2008 law made winter tires mandatory in the province.
5 winter tire safety tips, CBC News