Toronto Star

Winter tire debate rolls on

- Gary Grant

The mandatory use of winter tires in Canada has become an increasing­ly hot topic of late.

Some, like myself, who feel that winter-tire use should be legislated, are offset by those who don’t like the idea of forcing people who don’t drive when it snows to spend the money.

The folks at Desrosiers Automotive Consultant­s recently undertook a study of 1,500 Canadian lightvehic­le owners to determine what consumers think on a national scale.

Survey respondent­s were asked if they believe that their province should implement mandatory use of winter tires. Results: 57.2 per cent of those surveyed were in favour, while 31.5 per cent were against. A little more than 11 per cent sat on the fence.

Not surprising­ly, in Quebec, which is the only province mandating winter tire use, 90 per cent of respondent­s believe in the legislatio­n.

In Ontario, where many seem to think that the laws of physics do not apply to drivers, it is a different story: only 45.9 per cent think that the use of winter tires should be law.

That number is higher than one might suspect, yet lawmakers still yield to the downtown condo dwellers who have the option of taking the subway when the city gets hit with a winter storm.

The reality is that tires are not just round and black and keep a car off the ground. They quite literally are a car’s connection to the road.

The rubber compounds that allseason radials are made of is not designed to grip at temperatur­es below 7 C.

I hear many detractors of mandatory winter-tire use say that it only snows a few days a year, so drivers in southern Ontario don’t need them.

The problem is that snow isn’t the problem.

Below 7 C, a car with all-season tires is not connected to the road surface, which means that important safety features such as steering and brakes do not work optimally. Below 7 C, a car with all-season tires is not capable of stopping or turning to avoid a collision the way it was designed to be.

From November until early April, vehicles equipped with all-season tires are a known hazard — an accident waiting to happen.

Think about that the next time you say that we shouldn’t be forced to use winter tires.

Chevrolet hits the double as Motor Trend car, truck As far as magazine awards programs go, the annual Motor Trend Car and Truck of the year awards are the ones most coveted by auto manufactur­ers. The U.S. magazine has been ranking the best new vehicles on the road since 1949! On Monday, Motor Trend announced that the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, the sixth generation of the model, has been named this year’s Motor Trend Car of the Year. Thanks to its lighter weight and agile performanc­e, editors called the Camaro “the best production pony car the world has ever seen.”

Last week I wrote about the Chevrolet Colorado’s impressive fuel economy when outfitted with the new diesel engine. The economy and performanc­e offered by that engine led to Motor Trend bestowing the honour of 2016 Motor Trend Truck of the Year on it.

This achievemen­t is made more impressive by the fact that the gasoline-powered Colorado was also the 2015 winner.

New Mazda2 will not be sold here in Canada If you have been waiting for the Mazda2 to arrive in Canadian showrooms, you had best start looking at other models.

The second-generation version of the company’s B-car category entry will not be coming to Canada. Citing the shrinking market for subcompact cars as reasoning, Mazda Cana- da issued a brief press release this week to make the announceme­nt. Instead, the company will focus on its CX line of crossovers, which analysts see as the greatest growth opportunit­y for Mazda.

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park plans 5 headline events in 2016 Race fans, it’s time to update your 2016 calendar.

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park has released the 2016 schedule for the iconic Mosport Grand Prix circuit.

The usual suspects are there, including the season-opening Victoria Day Speedfest, Canadian Historic Grand Prix, the SportsCar Grand Prix and the NASCAR trucks to round out the summer.

Sadly, the Trans Am series is absent from the Victoria Day schedule for the second year in a row.

While the historic series’ absence will be felt, the Pirelli World Challenge more than makes up for it, offering fantastic competitio­n.

The biggest news is that CTMP has signed a five-year deal with NASCAR that will see the Camping World Truck Series returning to Canada’s home of road course motor racing until 2020.

Also of significan­ce is a new push to bring in young fans. For 2016, fans under the age of 16 can get in free with the purchaser of an adult ticket. Regular Wheels readers know that I’m a big advocate for introducin­g young fans to the sport, so I think this is just great. Freelance writer Gary Grant is a regular contributo­r to Toronto Star Wheels. To reach him, email and put his name in the subject line.

 ?? TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO ?? The Camping World Truck Series will again visit Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2016. Also next year, young fans will have a chance to get in free.
TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO The Camping World Truck Series will again visit Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2016. Also next year, young fans will have a chance to get in free.
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