Ontario Is Getting It Right With Cars Today, Closer to Xanadu

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Ontario announced this week that it would be the first Canadian province to allow autonomous driving on its roads ( although maybe not autonomous Volts) and it would make insurance companies discount policies for owners who have winter tires.

The programs were announced Tuesday and Wednesday by the ministries of finance and transportation in the province.

Ontario would join a handful of U.S. states that allow autonomous cars, including California and Michigan, on its roads for testing. According to the statement announcing the program, companies developing autonomous cars can begin applying for permits next month.

The government is also offering an additional $500,000 CAD ($385,000 US) to its Ontario Centres of Excellence Connected Vehicle/Automated Vehicle Program. The provincial government has pledged more than $2 million already.

On the tire front, Quebec is the only province that requires winter tires be used everywhere in winter months. British Columbia requires winter tires or chains on certain roads in mountainous areas. Last year, the Colorado Legislature proposed making winter tires mandatory for Interstate 70 through the Rocky Mountains, but that bill was solidly defeated with breathless hyperbole.

“We might as well have a tire police,” said Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton …

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  • MBella MBella on Oct 14, 2015

    Since we'll never be able to pass legislation for requiring winter tires, the insurance discount seems like an excellent idea. I wondered why insurance companies don't already offer it. It would cut down on claims.

  • Brumus Brumus on Oct 14, 2015

    Could someone kindly fill me in on the ill-fated attempt in CO to get no-season tires off the road in winter (behind paywall). And who in God's name would drive in the CO mountains during winter with no-season rubber? (And don't tell me "Don't need winters -- have all-wheel drive.")

  • Maymar Maymar on Oct 14, 2015

    I'd be interested to see if any of our drivers in Ontario are ever found at fault in an accident for their lack of snow tires. At least in Toronto, far too few people seem to accept that winter is a thing, and then when winter comes, insist on driving and holding the rest of us up. Also, because the province has no interest in fostering competent drivers, bring on the autonomous cars, as it'd still be a step up.

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    • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Oct 16, 2015

      @rpn453 I'm not even strongly opposed to a winter tire law in certain climates, including mine. My friends, family, and I use them regardless. I'd just prefer that it be dealt with using equipment violation fines rather than trying to assign fault where none can be proven. I'm actually probably more extreme than any of you in my views on winter driving, but in a different direction. I'd prefer that salt/sand/gravel never be used on the roads, except possibly for high speed roads with a lot of heavy truck travel. Just plow them and let people accept responsibility for driving in a suitable manner for road conditions and equipping their vehicles well enough to handle those conditions.

  • Felix Hoenikker Felix Hoenikker on Oct 15, 2015

    For winter driving, the aspect ratio of the tire is as important as the tread pattern. I would rather have 70 series all weather tires than 55 series snows. But the type of tire and how many wheels are driven only matters when getting and keeping moving in snow. When it comes to stopping, they all suck, but again the lower aspect ratio tires are worse as the have less force per patch area meaning they will hydroplane easier. When stopping on icy roads, there is no difference between the type of drive or tires except for studded tires which are illegal in many states.

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    • Bball40dtw Bball40dtw on Oct 15, 2015

      @rpn453 Modern winter tires are glorious.