What stops this insurer from measuring effectiveness of winter tires?

More than half a million Manitoba motorists are taking advantage of a winter tire financing program, but the jury is still out on whether the program has reduced accident frequency or severity.

There are about 580,000 registered passenger vehicles in Manitoba, said Brian Smiley, a spokesperson for Manitoba Public Insurance. MPI has processed about 130,000 loans for winter tires under an incentive program, Smiley told Canadian Underwriter.

Now in its fifth year, the incentive program allows motorists to get low-interest loans (prime plus 2%) of up to $2,000 towards buying winter tires as well as towards some of the associated costs.

But MPI is not at the point yet when it can keep statistics on how effective winter tires are in reducing accident frequency or severity. “Studies suggest that until there’s an 80% or higher usage rate, accurate analysis is not possible,” said Smiley.

Different provinces take different approaches to winter tires. For example, winter tires are mandatory from Dec. 15 through March 15 in Quebec, while Ontario insurance regulations have required carriers to give discounts for winter tires since 2016. The exact discount and criteria vary among insurers in Ontario.

So can one conclude that if everyone had winter tires, claims costs would be a certain amount lower than if no one had winter tires?

“Such projections are difficult to calculate,” said Smiley. “While winter tires have their safety merits, the onus of road safety ultimately rests with the driver of the vehicle. For example, an impaired/texting driver can still get into a crash despite the fact that the vehicle is equipped with winter tires.”

In Manitoba, motorists can get low-interest loans if they are private passenger (not commercial) customers of MPI and are buying the tires for vehicles with gross weight of under 4,541 kg. They also must have no financing restrictions or outstanding payments on their MPI accounts.

The tires must have the Transport Canada snowflake symbol, so mud and snow (all-season) tires do not qualify. Transport Canada says tires marked “M + S” continue to provide safe all-weather performance but may not always be suitable for severe snow conditions.

MPI customers can  pay for their tires by making monthly, pre-authorized payments to MPI through their bank accounts.

Tire and Rubber Association of Canada has a series of videos that compare the difference between proper winter tires and summer tires.

The MPI program does not let clients borrow money to repair tires. It also does not provide loans to maintain and store tires, unless that is included as part of the initial cost. It also does not provide loans for the cost of switching tires,  unless included as part of the initial cost.

It does provide loans for the cost of several associated items – among them rims, addition of studs to tires (some limitations apply), mounting and balancing, wheel alignment, nitrogen fill, valve stems, shop supplies and applicable taxes and fees.

Source article: https://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/what-stops-this-insurer-from-measuring-effectiveness-of-winter-tires-1004170205/

Winter Driving Tips

Winter driving can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when conditions are snowy or icy. If road conditions are dangerous, consider making alternate travel arrangements or postponing your trip until conditions improve.

Follow these steps to keep yourself safe and collision free during the next few blustery winter months.

Step 1: Make sure that your vehicle is prepared for winter driving.

  • Winter tires are a good option, as they will provide greater traction under snowy or icy conditions.
  • Keep a snow brush/scraper in your car, along with possible emergency items such as a lightweight shovel, battery jumper cables, and a flashlight.
  • Make sure that mirrors, all windows, and the top of your vehicle, are free of snow or frost before getting onto the road.

Step 2: Drive smoothly and slowly

  • Don’t make any abrupt turns or stops when driving. Doing so will often cause your vehicle to lose control and skid.
  • Driving too quickly is the main cause of winter collisions. Be sure to drive slowly and carefully on snow and ice covered roads.

Step 3: Don’t tailgate.

  • Tailgating becomes much worse in winter weather. Stopping takes much longer on snowy and icy roads than on dry pavement, so be sure to leave enough room between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

Step 4: Brake before making turns.

  • Brake slowly to reduce speed before entering turns. Once you have rounded the corner you can accelerate again.

Step 5: Learn how to control skids.

  • When skidding, you actually need to go against your natural instincts and turn into the skid and accelerate. Doing so transfers your vehicle’s weight from the front to the rear and often helps vehicles to regain control.

Step 6: Lights On.

  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.

Step 7: No Cruise Control.

  • Never use cruise control if conditions are snowy, icy, or wet, because if your car hydroplanes, your car will try to accelerate and you may lose control of your vehicle.

Step 8: Don’t “pump” the brakes.

  • If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), do not “pump” the brakes. Apply constant pressure and let the system do its work.

Step 9: Pay attention.

  • Manoeuvres are more difficult to make in the snow. Be sure to anticipate what your next move is going to be to give yourself lots of room for turns and stopping.

Source: https://canadasafetycouncil.org/winter-driving-tips/