New Winter driving laws with huge fines


Mandatory Winter Tires – Although it will only be next year when the official date for having mandatory winter tires installed on your car changes from December 15th to December 1st – it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make that change now. In fact, it makes good sense.

Winter tires have been mandatory for drivers in Quebec since 2008, and for good reason. Not only do they offer drivers better control on snow and ice, but compared to All-Season tires, they also provide better traction when temperatures start dropping. The rubber compound of winter tires is designed to have the flexibility needed for a better grip on road surfaces in temperatures as low as -40C. All-Season tires just don’t cut it because as soon as the temperature drops below 7°C, or when there is ice or snow on the road, the rubber compound of the tires harden and loses its grip. Braking on ice at 30km/hr on Winter tires takes approximately 30.1 metres to stop, versus All-season tires at 44.8 metres. An almost 15 metre difference could be a very significant factor when it comes to avoiding accidents.

Along with that, drivers must also be diligent in ‘Adapting their Driving Habits to the Conditions on the Road’. It not only makes common sense, but drivers also have a legal obligation to do so. And then there is the ‘MOBILE IGLOO’; even with proper winter tires on and smart driving, this is a serious menace drivers are required to heed. It’s when snow or ice is not properly cleared from a vehicle before getting on to the roads, especially on highways. Not only does it dangerously obscure a driver’s vision, but when left on a car (or semi-trailer trucks for that matter), especially on the roof – huge chunks of ice or snow can suddenly dislodge, hitting cars behind them or causing them to swerve and lose control, sometimes even breaking windshields – leading to potentially serious or even life-threatening accidents.
For those who have to park their cars outside all winter long, it could be especially inconvenient. Trying to remove ice or a foot of snow off a car in below freezing temperatures could be a daunting experience indeed, but it is a responsibility that comes with driving.

If logic does not appeal to the senses, perhaps the SAAQ fines and demerit points will:
• FAILURE TO ADAPT YOUR DRIVING TO WEATHER AND ROAD CONDITIONS: A $60 fine, plus costs and 2 Demerit Points.

• MANDATORY WINTER TIRES: If your vehicle is not equipped with winter tires by the official December date and until March 15th of the next year, you could face fines from $200 to $300 – plus costs.

• DRIVING A MOBILE IGLOO: A peace officer may impose a fine of $100 to $200, plus costs, on the driver and require that the vehicle’s windows and windshield be cleared of ice, snow, or any other matter that reduces the driver’s visibility. *NO PERSON may drive a vehicle covered with ice, snow, or any other matter that may detach from the vehicle and constitute a hazard for other road users. Offenders face a fine of $60 to $100, plus costs.

Bonnie Wurst – [email protected]


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