• Dec 30, 2009
Ah, Quebec. Beautiful women, beautiful city, fantastic food. But there is a dark side. No, not poutin and steamies. We're talking about the language police! Answer your phone incorrectly, write something in English more than 50 percent the size of the equivalent French phrase or – worst of all – if you forget to bother with French at all, it's off with your head an annoying fine. Joining the Québécois language police are a new group of cops – the tire police.

Basically, according to Wired, if you, a Quebec resident, drive between December 15 and March 15 on all-season tires, you get hit with a $300 fine. But what if you have all-wheel drive? Low gears and a transfer case? A Hummer H1? It doesn't matter. No snow tires = a $300 lighter wallet within the province of Quebec.

There is a bit of rationale behind this law. Fully 90 percent of drivers in Quebec have historically fitted snow tires to their rides anyhow. And it is estimated that the 10 percent that doesn't bother causes 38 percent of the winter accidents. Quite disproportionate, no? But really, this shouldn't come as any shock. Snowy conditions require winter tires. If this does come as a shock to you, check our recent feature on winter tires. And... uh, stay out of Quebec if you're still rollin' on summer meats.

[Source: Wired | Image: Roland - C.C. License 2.0]


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  • 72 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      when they come south and try to tell you something in FRENCH just tell you don,t understand and see how fast they learn english
      • 5 Years Ago
      WInter tires are very expensive, but definitely not as expensive as getting your car repaired after an unfortunate accident. To all the non believers, winter tires make a tremendous difference in safety and performance for winter conditions. There is absolutely no ifs or buts about it, they are an investment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Friggin' nanny state. Er, nanny province.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nein, nein nein! Finally the French got some backbone. And they should add a public caning for getting stuck on non-winter tires.

        For the ignorant, a winter tire has the international snowflake-on-mountain symbol on it.

        • 5 Years Ago
        @dukeisduke: You're a moron.

        It's stupid people like you that don't fit winter tires to their vehicle in snow belt regions that we need these sort of laws in the first place. When your dumb ass slams into someone else's car because you don't have winter tires, it's all your fault.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Duke, we can use the same argument for talking on the cell phone while driving, or drinking and driving.

        I know i can hold 10 beers, i do not need some government bureaucrat telling me otherwise.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Instead, how about charging people $300 if they have to be rescued when they're stuck? This sounds as much like a revenue generator as a safety measure.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Aprime, who cares if the likelyhood is small, if it happens because you decided to avoid getting winter tires, I doubt you could sleep with yourself.

        People are idiots and not everyone can control a car in bad conditions. In my country, the law is similar (though not as harsh). Basically, if in winter you have an accident or lose control of your vehical and you weren't on winter tires, it's considered negligence and no insurance company / police official will help you out.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nanny state is prohibiting you injuring yourself, which is not the case when you, because you are a cheapskate, kill two children who just happened to get in your way.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As I pointed out, accidents and fatalities have not come down following the implementation of the mandate. Safety is one's concern, legislating on it ain't going to change ****.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm from Upstate New York, and in high school I had 4 Firestone snows on my Horizon...the front 2 were studded, and that car was awesome in the snow. I also drove my parents Cadillac to school on occasion and it did fine in the snow on all seasons.

      Here is my problem with the whole thing:

      Should people use snow tires? YES.

      Should people be FORCED to use snow tires? NO.

      They created a law to get around peoples stupidity. They have the right to be stupid. Any arguement that can be used to justify snow tires to protect people can also be used to argue that we should all be using cars that only do 10mph. That is the essence of Nanny politics. "If we can this, we can do that." So where does it end?

      It is the tire companies (wanting to make money) and the insurance companies (wanting to make money) that make things like this happen.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes I agree with your argument that people SHOULD put snow tires on but shouldn't be FORCED to put them on. The Quebec government isn't really forcing people to put snow tires on their car. It's not like they are towing their cars away for a lack of snow tires, just issuing a fine for their stupidity. However, when people's lives are in danger, I think it is a positive thing to do. Imposing the fine will increase the number of people switching over to winter tires which is great for everyone on the road and it will penalize those who aren't as smart. During our winter storm, a person who slid off the road and got stuck in a ditch got out of his car and tried to get himself free when another car hit and killed him. I'm sure it could have been prevented if something like this was in place.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yes, wintery conditions require snow tires for the safest operation.

      No, the government has no place forcing that decision upon anybody.

      It really is that simple.
      • 5 Years Ago
      hmmm i live in quebec and i dont see the problem!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Might not make sense everywhere, but it probably does in Quebec.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You have a good new year's too. I actually believe snow is a myth as well - I live in Florida! We don't even know what a winter tire is here :-p
        • 5 Years Ago
        well certainly woudn´t make sense here. My town never saw temperatures below 23ºC and to most people snow is something completly alien that only exist in movies (and refrigerators). Enjoy the new year wherever you are, brother. good luck with your snow driving, though I know winter is the best season to have a car crash.
      • 5 Years Ago
      QUEBEC
      • 5 Years Ago
      Q: Is 4-wheel drive with four season tires better or worse than 2-wheel drive with winter tires?

      The good:
      1) Rental cars now come with snow tires for no extra cost. Before you might not be able to get them at all, even for extra cost.
      2) More people are driving on winter tires in winter.

      The bad:
      1) People who are about to drive south for the winter (say Jan 1) still need to get winter tires (or get a temporary exemption).
      2) People with four wheel drive still need winter tires.
      3) Ripping the engine splash shield off the bottom of the car because you used to shovel yourself out of snow banks that you simply drive through with winter tires.

      The ugly:
      1) More people are driving on winter tires in *summer*. There were a lot of new winter tires on Audis during the SUMMER because people with lots of money and four wheel drive can still be completely unclear on the concept. I bet they'll work well next year.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I guess this is for the greater good.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you live in quebec, you'd be a damn fool not to have winter tires.
      It was 0C two days ago and raining, and yesterday its -35 with the wind. Heeeeeellllo ice rink driving.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Winter tires won't stop your car in these conditions unless they're nailed; besides, this is why we salt roads.

        My own tires can barely cope with 15cm of snow on the roads. Serves me right for not shopping properly though - but you see, all it was was a stupid mandate made to prop up tire merchants; and it did.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Aprime, just, stop trolling. Just like in racing, tires are changed to accommodate the conditions.

        I live in Montreal, and I think it's suicide to drive here in winter without snow tires. Even if you're a a great driver, one day it could be 2 degrees Celsius, and then drop to -20. To say that Tires don't matter much in these icy situations is laughable.

        It's scientific. Winter tires work in winter.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Reminds me of when something like that happened a few years ago. I was at an intersection and the light turned green for me, but I didn't budge. The guy behind me was honking until he also saw the garbage truck sliding backwards across the intersection. Miraculously the truck didn't hit anyone or anything.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You can salt the roads all you want. Once the temperature starts approaching 0F/-18C (not a rare occurrence even here in nebraska) the salt solution starts becoming too weak to stop freezing. You could use a 100% saturated saltwater solution and it would still freeze at -5F/-21C anyway.

        Buying winter tires is a no-brainer anywhere that gets seasonal snowfall.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Revo: I know, but the law doesn't mendate specific tire quality or w/e, meaning you can get away with cheap, crap-performing Chinese stuff that are outperformed by all-seasons.

        I'm sincerely not trolling, I'm just challenging your damn conventional wisdom, as usual.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sorry to burst everyone's bubble, however as a born and raised quebeker (anglo) from montreal I must say the importaneof running winter tyres here.

      To begin with our vehicles do not require any mandatory inspections, as well as all of our idiot drivers with their poorly maintained junkers and no mandatory driver eduation to get your license!

      No kidding we got the oldest average age carpark in north america!

      Anything they do to improve road safety is a god bless

      I 've used winter tyres all my life - 4 seasons do not cut it here!

      BTW if u are visiting and have a plate either than a QC one u r exept and no one will give u a hard time

      So enjoy visiting and drive safe
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