Worthy investment

Five years ago, I purchased winter tires with studs on them for the first time in my life.
Up until then, I had relied on all-weather tires for all four seasons.
I came to realize how good those winter tires were in the first storm of the year in Winnipeg. I was driving north on Saint James in a snowstorm when I almost was involved in an accident.
The combination of studs and the softer rubber allowed me to veer out of the path of a car sliding out of control into my lane.
I had believed that a combination of four-wheel drive or front-wheel drive was all I would need for winter driving. I still suppose that remains true if all I ever was to do was drive on dry pavement in Ontario.
But that is not going to happen in Northwestern Ontario.
Since then, I have come to rely on those studded winter tires for traction and road handling in the ugliest days of winter. I join the other 65 percent of Ontario residents who put winter tires on their vehicles.
Still, that means one-third of Ontarians do not put winter tires on their vehicles.
In Quebec, it is the law that you must have winter tires on your vehicle. The government there insists winter tires are the number-one piece of safety equipment for winter driving.
The Ontario government claims that because of the highly-efficient snow-clearing programs on the province’s highways, snow tires may not be necessary. Yet two years ago, the province had to clamp down on maintenance contractors to maintain the roads in good travelling condition.
Winter tires and winter tires with studs do not make driving fast a good idea. One still must drive with caution and adjust the speed you are driving according to road conditions.
New snow and snow-packed roads make for difficult driving, and the gripping power of snow tires can make driving better.
One notices the OPP vehicles in winter all have black steel rims with winter tires. Leading by example, the OPP is urging all residents of Northwestern Ontario to put winter tires on their vehicles.
Most insurance companies offer a five percent discount on auto insurance to have winter tires installed on vehicles from November to April.
A good set of winter tires likely is to set you back more than $1,000. And when you put on new rims, along with the installation and balancing, the cost of those tires can run almost $1,800.
It seems to be a fairly hefty expense but a majority of Ontario car drivers already believe it is a worthwhile investment. Of course, that investment in tires will not be as expensive as fixing your vehicle.
The question is, “If you don’t use winter tires, what is holding you back?”