In winter, drivers must adapt their driving to weather and road conditions. Winter tires are mandatory from December 15 to March 15 inclusively.
Under the Highway Safety Code, drivers must slow down when visibility is reduced as a result of darkness, fog, rain or other precipitation, or when the roadway is slippery or not completely cleared.
Some driving schools offer lessons on how to drive on snow and ice to people who want to improve their techniques and gain confidence when it comes to winter driving.
To drive safely during the winter months, the Ministère des Transports du Québec recommends that you do a proper tune-up before the cold hits.
Before leaving, make sure you can make your trip safely by consulting:
From December 15 to March 15 inclusively, all passenger vehicles registered in Québec, including taxis, must be equipped with winter tires.
This requirement also applies to rental passenger vehicles in Québec, as well as mopeds, motorized scooters and motorcycles.
Even though winter tires are not mandatory before December 15, winter can arrive early. Don't let it catch you unprepared!
The fine varies from $200 to $300, plus costs.
Since December 15, 2014, only tires on which this pictogram is found and studded tires are considered winter tires under the Highway Safety Code.
The winter tires requirement does not apply:
To provide better traction and grip in cold temperatures
As soon as the temperature drops below 7°C, or when there is ice or snow on the road, the rubber compound of summer and all-season tires hardens and loses its grip.
Since we can generally expect such weather conditions before December 15, it is highly recommended that you equip your vehicle with winter tires before then.
The rubber compound of winter tires is designed to grip the road
The rubber compound of winter tires is specially designed to meet certain flexibility criteria in temperatures as low as -30 °C, which means better grip on the road surface.
CAA-Québec recommends that the tread depth be at least 4.8 mm (6/32 in) when the tires are installed.
Even though legislation allows for the use of tires with a tread depth of only 1.6 mm (2/32 in), below 4.8 mm (6/32 in) you may be compromising your safety.
Be sure to check the date the tires were made, especially when you are buying them.
The tread on older tires is harder and less effective on snow and ice.
How to find the date a tire was made
On the tire wall, find the DOT identification number that ends with a 4-digit number. That 4-digit number corresponds to the 2-digit week and 2-digit year in which the tire was made.
For example, 3613 means that the tire was made in the 36th week of 2013.
When a vehicle's visibility is reduced by an accumulation of snow, ice or fog, a peace officer may impose a fine of $100 to $200, plus costs, on the driver and require that the vehicle (including the windshield, headlights, lights and reflectors) be cleaned before getting back on the road.
Snow removal vehicles have many blind spots that prevent their drivers from seeing other road users well.
It is best to stay at a safe distance when driving near this type of vehicle to ensure you are in the driver's field of vision.
This winter, for your own safety, keep your distance!