Ontario drivers have a car insurance money-saving opportunity when they install winter tires during a specified period of the year. Ontario is known to have extreme winter weather conditions which ultimately raise the risk of becoming involved in an accident. When installing winter tires the risk is somewhat reduced as winter tires provide more traction during winter road conditions.
About Winter Tires
Ontario winter weather is very unpredictable. Drivers can experience treacherous driving conditions. Snow, white-outs, ice, high winds, and extreme cold weather pose hazards to many drivers during the winter months. Winter tires are specially designed to safely meet these weather conditions. Winter tires are constructed with a special compound so that tires do not stiffen in cold weather. They are also designed with deeper treads and gripping edges and provide a shorter braking distance. Winter tires can shorten braking distance up to 25%. Installing winter tires makes so much sense, not only will you be driving safer, but you will also save money on your car insurance. Remember to speak to your insurance provider about a winter tire discount. Winter tires last approximately two to three winter seasons. Once the thread depth has been reduced, the tires are no longer optimum at doing their job.
How Do I Identify Winter Tires?
All winter tires will have a peaked mountain logo with a snowflake visible on the rubber of the tire. Speak to your tire specialist to find out which winter tires are suitable for your vehicle.
What are Studded Snow Tires and Where Can They Be Used?
Studded snow tires are constructed with metal studs within the tread. The purpose of studded snow tires is to provide extra traction when driving on ice. The metal studs dig into the ice, however, when not driving on ice, the metal studs can damage roads. Studded tires are only permitted for use in Northern Ontario, they are not legal in Southern Ontario. The following areas in Ontario are permitted to use studded tires:
- Parry Sound
- Thunder Bay
- Rainy River
These Ontario areas are permitted to use studded tires from September 1st to and including May 31st. Use of studded tires below these areas may incur a fine. Vehicles from out of province or from Northern Ontario visiting areas prohibited from studded tire use may visit for a maximum of 1 month.
How Much Do You Save on Insurance With Winter Tires?
Typically, the installation of winter tires will save you up to a maximum of 5% on your auto insurance.
When Can Snow Tires be Removed in Ontario?
In Ontario, to qualify for the snow tire discount on your car insurance, winter tires must remain on your vehicle until April 1st.
Do All-Weather Tires Qualify For Insurance Discount?
No, all-weather tires do not qualify for an insurance discount.
Is it Illegal to Not Have Snow Tires in Ontario?
No, it is not illegal to not have snow tires in Ontario. However, it is illegal to tell your insurance provider you have winter tires installed when you don’t, it’s a fraud.
Do Winter Tires Use More Gas?
Yes, winter tires use more gas due to the increased traction and grip they provide.
Winter Driving in Ontario
Ontario is well known for unpredictable winter driving hazards. In some areas of Northern Ontario, winter can begin early. It is highly recommended that all Ontario drivers install winter tires for safer driving during the winter months. Winter tires should be installed once the temperature drops below 7 degrees celsius. All-season tires do not qualify for winter tires. Regular all-season tires begin to lose their grip at this temperature. In order to qualify for a winter tire discount with your insurance provider, you must install all four winter-rated tires. This is a qualifying requirement. Winter tires will have a visible logo on the rubber of a three-peaked mountain with a snowflake.
Preparing You and Your Vehicle For Winter Driving
To ensure you and your vehicle are ready for winter driving there are a few things you can do. It is important to prepare ahead of time for the upcoming winter months so you are not caught off-guard. Here are a few things you can do:
- Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained and ready for winter.
- Install winter tires once temperatures drop below 7 degrees celsius
- Don’t wait until the last minute to install your snow tires, you could experience a long wait
- Always keep your fuel tank at least half full.
- Make sure your washer fluid reservoir is topped up and carry extra washer fluid in your vehicle. Use -40 degrees celsius washer fluid in the winter months.
- Keep an ice-scraper and a snow brush in your vehicle at all times.
- Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle.
Winter Survival Kit
- It is a good idea to keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle, especially during the winter months in the event you break down. A winter survival kit should include:
- Jumper cables
- Extra blankets
- Warm clothes
- Non-perishable Food
- Phone Charger
- Lighter or matches
- Sand or traction mats
- Spare tire
- Tire jack
- Small tool kit
Safe Winter Driving Tips
Winter driving in Ontario can be very dicey at times, however, there are a few things you can do to exercise safety. Follow these important tips to ensure you are driving as safely as possible:
- Reduce speed
- Never use cruise control on snowy, wet, or icy roads
- Avoid hard braking and quick accelerations
- Steer gently to keep control of the vehicle
- In the event of skidding, take your foot off the brake and steer in the direction you want to go
- Keep a safe distance behind vehicles
- Do not drive when distracted
- Always observe the road surface
- Always use your vehicle’s full lighting system
- In severe dangerous driving conditions, pull over where it is safe to do so and wait for the weather to improve
- Stay well back from working snowplows
- Use extreme caution when driving on unplowed or unsalted roads