Driving Safe in Winter Means Knowing When to Change Your Tires

The Globe and Mail reports, ‘the rubber in all-season tires starts to harden when the temperature drops below 7C.’ Tires are that important liaison between the vehicle and the road. After all, tires bring into the real world the claimed performance characteristics of the vehicle. That said, tires have a much narrower performance window as compared to other components of the car.

Given the severe winter weather that Ontario experiences for a significant part of the year, it is curious that drivers are not clearly aware of when to put on winter tires. Only British Columbia and Quebec have taken active measures that require drivers to install winter tires.

When to put on winter tires

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation, a Canadian road safety research institute, notes an almost 50% increase in accidents due to skidding in winter conditions. In fact, contrary to their colloquial name – snow tires – winter tires should be installed on a vehicle two weeks before the first snow and kept on until about two weeks after the last snow of the season. Their advantage lies not only in the deeper tread depth, but also the lower operating temperature of the rubber, which retains offers superior traction, steering and braking compared to all-season and summer tires.

Personal injury arising out of car accidents

In a car accident, ascertaining liability is key to evaluating the claim. That a driver did not know when to put on winter tires is an important factor in terms not only of compensation but also the insurance claim. Whereas a conscientious driver will keep their vehicle in safe mechanical fettle, one can ask, and compellingly so: is installing winter tires not equally important to meeting the standards of a safe driver, even if not specifically legislated to do so?

Third party investigators, independent analysis and witnesses will all play an important part in determining the outcome of the claim. Was the vehicle privately owned or a part of a rental fleet which was otherwise required to have winter tires – questions such as these will influence liability hugely.

Anyone having suffered personal injury may have more than one option to getting fair compensation for their injuries and loss of livelihood. Other than a claim under tort against the person at fault, there can be an accident benefit component too.

Car accident claims and suits, particularly those precipitated by wintery conditions require a deft and experienced touch. At Will Davidson LLP you know you have the expertise and resources at hand to get the fair and justiciable compensation you deserve for injuries you or your family have sustained.

Our Oakville car accident lawyers have over 90 years of experience handling catastrophic injury, trauma and other personal injury claims. Get in touch with our team to discuss the options you or your loved ones have to seek compensation for injury suffered due to a car accident.

When Poor Road Conditions Cause Car Accidents: What You Can Do

Poor road conditions, potholes and prevention

Have you been in a car accident caused by poor road conditions?

Poor road conditions cause up to 10% of car accidents.

Pothole Dufferin St Toronto
Pothole on Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario

While 90% of car accidents are caused by driver error, the other 10% are caused by poor road conditions such as potholes, erosion, shoulder drop-offs, missing guardrails, lack of maintenance and bad design. These accidents can cause car damage, serious personal injury and even death. In situations where poor road conditions led to a car accident, who is responsible?

In Ontario, responsibility for road conditions is shared between municipalities and the province. Municipalities are responsible for maintaining city streets. The Province of Ontario is responsible for maintaining provincial highways, such as the 400-series highways (401, 400, QEW, etc.) and smaller numbered highways (11, 35, 169, etc.). Provinces and municipalities are permitted to hire agencies and contractors to maintain roads and deal with poor road conditions. If your car was damaged or you suffered personal injury as a result of poor road conditions, it may be possible to bring a claim again the entities the city or province hired to complete the maintenance as well.

If you were involved in a car accident caused by poor road conditions a number of elements will have to be proven in order for liability to be found:

  1. First, it will be essential to show that the poor road conditions actually caused damage to the car and/or personal injury. In doing so, any arguments that the driver’s poor driving or other condition (such as weather) caused the accident will have to be dispelled.
  2. Second, it must be shown that the municipality or province (or the agency they hired) had a duty to maintain the road in question and keep it safe.
  3. Third, you must demonstrate that the municipality, province and/or agency were negligent in preventing and/or dealing with poor road conditions and maintaining the road. In some situations, it may also be incumbent on the plaintiff to show that the municipality, province and/or agency had a duty to warn drivers of poor road conditions where they presented a danger to drivers.

If you are considering suing a municipality, province or agency for damages for personal injury or damage to your vehicle due to poor road conditions, is very important to remember that there is a two year limitation period within which you must bring your claim. The two year limitation period generally starts on the day the car accident occurred. After this two-year period is up, you will not be permitted to make a personal injury claim.

One way we can all make the roads safer for everyone is to report poor road conditions to the municipality or province, as the case may be. Most municipalities have a 311 number people can call to report poor road conditions such as potholes, missing guard rails and road erosion. When calling about a pothole, be prepared to give the exact location of the pothole and a description of it. You can also report potholes to your local CAA branch or online at their website.

If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury or damage to a vehicle in a car accident where poor road conditions are a factor, please contact our Oakville personal injury law firm for more information about personal injury sustained due to poor road conditions.

 If you’re curious, here are the Top 10 Worst Roads in Ontario (2014), according to a CAA poll:

  1. Dufferin Street (Toronto)
  2. Stanley Avenue (Niagara Falls)
  3. Kipling Avenue (Toronto)
  4. Finch Avenue West (Toronto)
  5. Burlington Street East (Hamilton)
  6. Bayview Avenue (Toronto)
  7. Carling Avenue (Ottawa)
  8. Markham Road (Toronto)
  9. Lawrence Avenue East (Toronto)
  10. Wilson Avenue (Toronto)

Source: CAA


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