Editorial: Tires Not Key to Road Safety - Tire Review Magazine

Editorial: Tires Not Key to Road Safety

(Timmins (Ont.) Daily Press) Mother Nature, exhibiting a devilish sense of humour, dumped a load of snow, caused whiteouts from high winds and turned Ontario's highways into skating rinks just days after Premier Dalton McGuinty had ruled out forcing motorists to buy snow tires.

Some may choose to see it as Mother Nature’s discordant response to McGuinty’s decision.

It came down to a decision of whether or not to legislate good advice.

Quebec obviously chose to make it law, which is what spurred McGuinty to consider doing the same. Quebecers now face a $300 fine if they don’t have winter tires on their cars.

After some consideration, McGuinty chose not to follow suit. Even though we think snow tires are a smart choice for Northern Ontario motorists – particularly when one considers our extended months of winter and the amount of snow that usually falls in our region – we agree with McGuinty’s decision not to make it mandatory provincewide.

His decision was in deference to the fact a large portion of Ontario’s population is in the southerly part of the province where often Christmas is green, the snow is grey and winter weather (by our standards) is not around for more than a month or two.

Even so, snow tires are still a wise choice for motorists in southern Ontario, too. However, a snow tire is no surety against the repercussions of reckless or dangerous driving.

And that’s the key thing.

That’s why we agree with McGuinty’s decision. More often than not, vehicular collisions on winter roads aren’t caused by the lack of snow tires on a vehicle. It’s caused by motorists who are driving too fast or not accordingly to the conditions.

This is a point that representatives from our city police and provincial police services keep reminding motorists along with warnings whenever road conditions in our region get slick.

This is also what Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino touched upon this week when he urged the government to increase fines and demerit points for drivers speeding in bad weather conditions – whether it’s snow, heavy rain or thick fog.

Fantino’s pitch came on the heels of a weekend that saw provincial police officers respond to more than 3,000 collisions as large swaths of the province were walloped by two snowstorms.

At least 40% of crashes are caused by speeding in poor conditions and not paying attention, Fantino said.

The Highway Traffic Act already has provisions and penalties for speeding and careless driving.

Do we really need another section in the Act that specifically addresses bad driving in poor weather?

No, we don’t.

What we do need is the strict enforcement of existing traffic laws – not just about speeding but also signalling turns and taking the proper precautions before changing lanes.

Stinging reminders to drive safely will go much further to reducing collisions on our winter roads than mandatory snow tires ever could. (Tire Review/Akron)

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