Breaking News: Winter streets begin annual campaign to write off your vehicle

This just in:

1) It's winter in Canada. (No, really. We don't need the calendar to reach Dec 21st to declare this.)

2) This phenomenon happens every year, about this same time. (Seriously.)

3) Winter streets in Canada are slippery. (Stay with me here.)

4) They make special "tires" for your vehicle which help you stay, you know, on the "road" instead of, you know, sliding into the ditch and/or careening into power poles and small children playing hockey in the street.

5) Getting these tires on your car isn't exactly rocket science. Stores sell them.

6) Some people who live in very snowy climes (= Quebec) think that snow tires should be mandatory, thus making #5 slightly more challenging.

7) The first snowfall is often a "surprise" to people who are not good winter planners. These are the same people who don't think about owning a snow shovel when mother nature dumps 30cm of the white stuff on you. These people usually get snow tires installed the same day as their car goes into the shop to get that pesky dent or slow pedestrian removed.

8) The normal wait to get snow tires in the rest of the country became grossly inflated, that is, if one could even FIND snow tires for purchase in your locality.

To wit:

Call it a Canadian tire crisis. With the imminent arrival of a mandatory winter tire law in Quebec, some retailers as far away as Halifax and Vancouver say they're facing a shortfall.

Some drivers are heading across the U.S. border in search of winter wheels, while others are resorting to stealing them.

"I'm getting over 200 calls a day and the phone will still be ringing when I leave tonight," a harried Gary Bastin, a tire distributor in Toronto, said yesterday between calls. "Customers are so frustrated, but there are no tires around. In 38 years, I've never seen anything like it."

The crunch comes as Quebec prepares to become the first province to make winter tires compulsory. The law, which takes effect Monday, is meant to reduce wintertime fender-benders.

Source: The Globe and Mail: "Quebec winter tire law hits the skids"

Our snow tires were installed right around the time of the first big storm, three winters ago. After being in the same boat as everyone else who figured that "all seasons" actually included WINTER, we bought studded winter tires. And let me tell you, those studs are a godsend. Sliding, white-knuckled, down the driveway down a sheet of freshly frozen rain can be eye opening (It can also leave a mark on the front seat). I think when it's time to replace these snow tires in a couple years time, I'll write a note to myself to buy them in May when the snow is waning and the prices are falling.

There's also an excellent Nathan: On Your Side episode from This Hour Has 22 Minutes on protecting your family with snow tires, but unfortunately it appears that the CBC doesn't want you to see it on youtube. However, if you happen to be outside the country, you can probably see it here.

Happy winter motoring! And hey, let's be careful out there.

Posted bythemikestand at 9:45 AM  

4 stepped up to the mike:

Steph said... 11:35 AM, December 11, 2008  

Our car, with its pathetic all-season tires, has been sitting in the driveway since April, when the Mr. and I decided to say "SCREW YOU, GAS PRICES!" and started walking/ biking/ bussing everywhere.

However, as I skate along icey sidwalks to the stop and stand in the cold waiting for my bus, I think rather longingly of my car in the driveway at home.

Drat those stupid tires.

Erik said... 4:00 PM, December 11, 2008  

Actually, the true Canadian Tire crisis was when Ted Simonett stopped doing their commercials. said... 8:40 PM, December 11, 2008  

Well, normally I would just sit here and read and feel like nothing but a spectator when the subject has anything at all to do with truly cold weather... HOWEVER, My house recently had, (get this), SNOW.
No. No ice and the snow was completely gone in the morning, but it was pretty while it lasted. Every single neighbor was out taking pictures in the front yard.
I do not recall anyone considering snow tires...
I think it sounds like a good idea in your neck of the woods, though... if only to keep the new appearance of the upholstery in the driver's seat.;-)

doow said... 5:28 PM, December 13, 2008  

Poor front seat.

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