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WINTER TIRES AND THE COLD, CRUEL REALITY OF A CANADIAN WINTER
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SLIP SLIDIN’ AWAY – Carter Hammett presents a polar primer on winter tires and prays another winter like last year’s doesn’t hit the Atlantic! THE ATLANTIC ROAD REPORT – PEI introduces tougher penalties • More! NEWS OF THE WEIRD – Blind people in Poland hit the road. This is among the offerings up for grabs this outing. FIRST OF ITS KIND – A unique opening of a pick-a-part service in the HRM. GEARING UP FOR WINTER AGAIN. Y’all Ready For This? Contributor Jay LeRue offers his take on arming yourself with the right protection in the duel with Old Man Winter. RACING REBORN IN NEWFOUNDLAND – Racing pundit Tim Terry reports on how “the fourth Atlantic province” is starting to become globally noticed with the revived stock car racing program. Start Your Engines! THE GPS GREEN REVOLUTION TURBO CHARGED BY ‘OUR KIDS’ – Ron Zima expounds on the potential billions vehicle stakeholders stand poised to save. PASSIONATE ABOUT AUTOS – BLL Enterprises operates six NAPA stores on the south shore and shows no signs of slowing down. DONALD CHISHOLM WINS PARTS FOR TRUCKS PRO STOCK TOUR 2015 - Blenkhorn edges Butcher to win Dartmouth Dodge 200 at Scotia Speedworld. TECHNOLOGY HAS ADVANCED FASTER in the past ten years than it has any other time in history. ROY MACNEIL RETIRES from the Nova Scotia Community College, Akerley Campus after 35 years of service! A SEASONED TRUCKER TALKS ABOUT HIS LOVE OF THE INDUSTRY, his family and his devotion to giving back through continued charity volunteering. THE FOURTH ANNUAL WORLD’S LARGEST TRUCK CONVOY in support of Special Olympics has wrapped up to a resounding success. DUCKS UNLIMITED HAS A NEW CORPORATE PARTNER - Axalta Coating Systems, has joined Ducks Unlimited as its newest corporate partner. WIN BIG! A 1:50 scale die-cast dump truck from Atlantic Cat, or a NAPA 126 piece tool set in our 2 BIG contests!!
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Letter from the Editor
THE COMMON SENSE SEASON
THINK IT’S POSSIBLE THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY STILL DIGGING OUT FROM LAST YEAR’S SNOWPOCALYPSE THAT HIT THE ATLANTIC REGION LAST YEAR.
That was a whopper, and I can’t help but wonder how many of us will simply try to forget that it ever happened and simply go on with our lives? With winter fast approaching in the Atlantic Region, it simply makes good sense to take stock of our vehicles and adopt a proactive approach to managing the white season’s unpredictability. This issue’s feature takes a look at winter tires and all of the variables that go along with them: from winter safety to tire management to some eagle-eyed commentary on all-seasons, our pundits could fill a decent-sized garage with the useful info contained in this issue. With that in mind, I thought I’d take the opportunity to use this space to encourage you fine folks to consider some practical suggestions and tools of the trade I’ve collected over the years. This is the time of year to start preparing your vehicle so it’s as good as can be before the snow arrives.
By Carter Hammett
A PROACTIVE TOOLKIT
Some common sense winter drivers have kindly shared ideas for items to always keep in the car. These include: a shovel, scraper, booster cables, blanket or sleeping bag, dried food like snack bars or beef jerky, a bag of sand, maps, first aid kit, tow rope, extra clothing including hats, socks and gloves, cell phone adapter that can be plugged into a lighter, batterypowered radio, water, and fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention. A Few More Things to Consider This may sound obvious, but seriously: make yourself easily located. If the weather seems iffy—and even if it doesn’t—tell someone where you’re going and how you’re getting there. If you find yourself in a position where your vehicle conks out, stay in it! Walking in a winter storm can be risky to say the least. If it looks like you’ll be in your car for a while, it’s better to be alert and slightly uncomfortable than sleepy. Run your engine for only 10 minutes an hour and make sure the exhaust pipe is clear. Keeping a window open while running the engine is also a good thing. Don’t drive if you’re tired and make sure you check for weather conditions before leaving. Keep abreast of road reports—Atlantic provinces are especially good at updates— so you can get updates. Lastly, when planning your ETA, make sure you factor in hazards like reduced visibility and slower traffic. This will help reduce a lot of stress. There’s plenty more winterrelated content elsewhere in this issue. Check out info on new tires and Jay LaRue’s insights on winter preparedness. Remember, you can never be too prepared! These are just a few tips that can help you avoid an unpleasant situation. Too many lives are lost each winter in situations that could have been avoided. Don’t make yours one of them! By taking a proactive stance you’ll be helping to protect everyone. Turn the cold season into a common sense season and start things off right with a little advance planning: You’ll be really, really really glad you did.
TIPS FROM THE TRADE
For starters, make sure your electrical system is up to par. If your battery is weak, replace or recharge it. Ensure your vehicle has antifreeze rated for the coldest weather. Make sure your brakes are attuned to maintain equal braking. Have your belts, hoses, radiator, oil lights, exhaust system heater and ignition system inspected by a reliable technician. How many of you consider actually replacing your windshield wipers every year? Better yet, cough up some extra cash and get some windshield wipers with a winter rating.
n o v e m b e r 2015
SLIP-SLIDIN’ AWAY... WINTER TIRES ARE BACK!
autoatlantic.com n n o v e m b e r 2015
WINTER TIRES AND THE COLD, CRUEL REALITY OF A CANADIAN WINTER
By Carter Hammett
IKE IT OR NOT, THE TIME TO THINK ABOUT WINTER TIRES IS LIKE, YESTERDAY. AND WITH A PLETHORA OF STYLES, MODELS AND SIZES TO CHOOSE FROM, FINDING THE RIGHT ONES CAN BE A TAD DAUNTING. HEREWITH, OUR PRIMER ON WHAT MAKES A TIRE GOOD.
By the time this issue of Auto and Trucking Atlantic arrives in your mailbox, your snow tires should be already installed on your vehicle and you’re goodto-go for winter, right? Right? Well, okay, maybe not. Back in February of this year, Nova Scotia decided to defer the concept of mandatory snow tires citing cost as a factor that stretched beyond some drivers’ pocketbooks. The province planned to conduct further studies early 2016. That decision was somewhat ironic given the piles that hit the Atlantic region last year. Back in 2011 a survey of NS drivers revealed that only about 79 per cent of people were using four winter tires. Compare that figure to 87 per cent in the east-
ern part of the province, although data revealed an increase in winter tire usage. Oddly, Halifax Regional Police don’t track the tire type when responding to calls about winter collisions and insurance companies don’t gather data on snow tires either, despite the fact that some insurers offer a discount to drivers that install them. Nonetheless, Atlantic drivers remain well ahead of the Canadian pack when using snow tires, reports the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada. The association determined that only about half of drivers overall actually use winter tires, with Maritimers making up roughly 73 per cent of all drivers. That figure drops to 56 per cent in Ontario and a mere 45 per cent in Alberta. At present, Quebec remains the only Canadian province where winter tires are mandatory. Since mandatory legislation was introduced in that province back in 2008, accidents have decreased by almost 20 per cent. So with all stats and data pointing towards the obvious, why - aside from cost do Canadians shy away from winter tires? It may have something to do with the mythology that arose with the introduction of all-season tires which were developed as a compromise between driving on dry and wet roads during warmer seasons and one used during winter. The material however, doesn’t offer optimal performance on snow and ice. They are
however convenient and do tend to perform reasonably well in many conditions and remain popular based on drivers’ personal needs and driving habits. But when it comes to the safest possible winter driving experience, the tire industry unanimously recommends winter tires. Advances in tread compound and design have greatly increased the power and performance of winter tires says expert Billy Lau, co-owner of Tires 23 in Mississauga, ON. “Winter tires extend the life of both winter-and-all season tires,” he says. Your insurance will most likely be cheaper too.” While all tire rubber begins to stiffen in the cold, the latest incarnations of winter tires tend to retain their elasticity even in temperatures nearing -30C, which in turn demonstrates enhanced traction and grip. Indeed, winter tires can offer up to 50 per cent more traction than all-season tires. When ambient temperature drops to below -7C, it’s time to put away the allseasons and put on the winter tires.
There is a plethora of choice when it comes to winter tires and this can frankly be overwhelming when it comes time to purchase them. Canadians in general, and Atlantic drivers in particular, tend to deal with some of the roughest winter weather out there. Tires demonstrating the mountain snowflake symbol, meet-or-exceed the inn o v e m b e r 2015 n autoatlantic.com
Tires and Treads
WINTER TIRE BUYER’S CHECKLIST
For your own safety and the safety of your passengers, install tires on your vehicle which correspond to the winter driving conditions that are relevant to you. Whether you live in the city or country or whether you drive a large or a small vehicle, winter driving conditions will impact your vehicle’s performance.
WHEN CHOOSING A WINTER TIRE, CONSIDER YOUR DRIVING NEEDS:
1. Do you live where cold temperatures are common? 2. Do you drive on icy or snowy roads? 3. Do you have to use your vehicle every day, regardless of the weather? 4. Do you drive off main streets and roads in winter? 5. Do you drive early in the morning or late at night in winter? 6. Do you drive nearly the same speed regardless of temperature? Take into consideration how much winter driving you will do, your driving habits, local driving conditions, and the level or safety and performance you expect from your vehicle and its tires. Talk to your dealer about your driving habits and the winter road conditions you drive in to determine what kind of winter tires are best for you. Source: Tire and Rubber Association of Canada
autoatlantic.com n n o v e m b e r 2015
dustry standard for traction requirements and have been designed especially for cold or severe weather conditions. Allseasons are marked with M + S which means mud and snow, but they don’t perform well in either ice or deep snow. “Even the best quality all-season tire is no match for the worst winter tire,” says Lau. “The lowest level winter tire is better than the best all-season.” Winter tires these days aren’t only designed for snowy weather, they also do well on cold, dry pavement as well. They have passed numerous and strict testing that includes acceleration grip, noise, fuel consumption, handling and ability to stop under various conditions. The bottom line is that no one snow tire can satisfy all requirements Billy Lau’s favourite choices for winter tires include: Michelin Xice3, Bridgestone Blizzak WS80, TOYO GSi5, Bridgestone Blizzak DMV2 and Michelin Latitude Xice2. “Bridgestone Blizzak DMV1, DMV2 and Michelin Latitude Xice2 are the most popular choice for light truck and SUV” he says. Michelin’s Xice3 has scored top marks for acceleration traction on both ice and snow for studless ice and snow tires in tests conducted by Tire Rack, while Bridgestone’s Blizzak WS80 combines all the elements of a great winter tire. “My personal favorite is the Bridgestone Blizzak. It’s famous for its ice grip, but handles well on both snow and ice,” says Lau. If you’re asking yourself where you can buy winter tires, consider checking out Tire Rack, which is the largest online tire retailer in the US. The site offers a comprehensive resource and contains
tons of reviews. Your local dealer can offer the best advice and some even offer storage for other sets of tires for a reasonable fee. A comprehensive list of available winter tires manufactured by members of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada can be found at this link: http://www.rubberassociation.ca/files/Winter%20Tire%20 Listing%202014.pdf
A FEW WORDS ABOUT ALL-WEATHER TIRES
A fairly recent entry into the tire game is the “all-weather.” Gradually gaining slow popularity, it meets the criteria for being labelled a winter tire, but is actually created to work all year. In fact, the all-weather may provide a more budget-friendly alternative to standard winter tires. These babies meet the safety needs drivers demand while being conveniently left on your car in all four seasons. Finnish company Nokian pioneered this new class of tire in both automobile and SUV sizes and is currently in its third generation. It’s a good tire for driving in cities and handles well in slushy conditions. All-weather tires keep the rubber soft below freezing, but also prevent the rubber from becoming too soft during summer. This is in part because the tires are built to a higher speed, which are stiffer and can thus dissipate heat better than other tires. Caveat emptor! When buying these tires, be conscious of the fact that some retailers mislabel all-season as all-weather. One recommended brand is the Hankook Optimo 4S, available through Canadian Tire, which has proven to have great per-
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Tires and Treads
formance at a reasonable price. Other options include the Vredestein Quatrac and Goodyear Fortera SUV tires. Expect about 80,000 km out of these tires and be prepared for a bit more noise. The ride might also be stiffer. But this type of tire seems to be gradually gathering steam and on its way to replacing the “no-season” tires as they’re called in the tire biz.
consumption. All of these help save energy. Tire pressure decreases as temperatures fall, so be proactive and check tire pressure at least monthly when tires are cold, especially if the car has been out all night. Remember: as a tire wears, traction is reduced. These should never be used on snow-covered roads or in severe weather conditions.
STAY SAFE THIS WINTER!
And while it’s been clearly established that all-season tires simply don’t have the performance that winter tires do, there are also several safety guidelines recommended by Transport Canada that all drivers should follow in winter. Your vehicle’s handling be will substantially enhanced by installing tires with the same speed rating, load index, size and type. And one thing that gets repeated over and over is again worth repeating here: always install four winter tires! Anything less compromises safety and performance. Some drivers find it enough to install only two winter tires on the front axle: don’t. You can easily lose control of the vehicle while running the risk of oversteer. Likewise, installing only two tires on the rear axle might increase grip in the rear, but decreased front grip could result in understeer. Air pressure helps extend tread life, increases safety while decreasing fuel
EVEN WINTER TIRES HAVE A BACK STORY!
We’re willing to bet that you didn’t know that winter tires were invented in Finland back in 1934. They were first introduced for trucks and passenger vehicles, a few months later. Nokian first introduced winter tires as a way to enhance their chances of actually making it to their destinations…Bear in mind this was during a time when horses and buggies were still a fairly common sight on the roads. The safety benefits of winter tires were immediately recognized and featured a new and unique tread design. Winter tires had larger teeth which offered more traction. It wasn’t long before other companies saw dollar signs in the making and in quick succession Goodyear offered their Suburbanite winter tires in 1952, followed by a studded version in 1965. Michelin patented a snow tire design in 1972 that included variable width recesses in the
tread, thereby enhancing grip. Studded tires were introduced during the 1960s and this contributed to driver safety, and but one aspect of different ideas incorporated into tire design. One of the oddest - and most effective - is Toyo Tires’ introduction of walnut shells (!) into their winter products.These are among the toughest of natural ingredients and can actually improve traction by digging into snow and ice. Silica compounds have been included in many brands including Cooper and Bridgestone. The introduction of sensors incorporated into tires, driverless technology, 3-D printing and other innovations will continue to help winter tires evolve and improve performance for generations to come.
If you haven’t begun to think about winter tires yet, start. Winter tires are really “cold weather tires” that offer superior traction, cornering, braking and overall performance in a diversity of weather conditions ranging from cold and dry to slushy. All of these variables make sense especially when improved stopping distance is factored into the mix. With winters are unpredictable and varied as Canada experiences, winter tires are the only realistic option. Get out there and stay safe!
East Coast Road Report
ATLANTIC ROAD REPORT BITS AND PIECES OF NEWS YOU CAN USE GATHERED FROM AROUND THE
MARITIME REGION BECAUSE YOU HAD TO KNOW! YOU’RE WELCOME…
Summer 2015 Cleanup of Outer Ring Road a Resounding Success The third and final cleanup of the summer for the Outer Ring Road (ORR) in St. John’s took place this past weekend resulting in approximately 40 tons of garbage collected. In total, the three sweeps of the ORR saw approximately 110 tons of garbage collected, including many larger items such as mattresses and other household items. “The cleanup of the Outer Ring Road this summer has been a great success with approximately 110 tons of garbage collected in total. I want to acknowledge the work of the crews of the Department of Transportation and Works in this effort to ensure our roads are clean and litter free. Such work is particularly important from a safety perspective as
items that are tossed or fall from vehicles onto the road can be a hazard for both motorists and for the highway crews who collect them.” - The Honourable David Brazil, Minister of Transportation and Works. Transportation and Works crews have also undertaken cleanups of other key areas of the province’s highway system including the Lewin Parkway in Corner Brook and Route 450 (South Shore Highway) to the waste disposal site. Motorists are reminded to ensure loads destined for waste
disposal sites are properly secured at all times. “Everyone has a responsibility to keep our roadways clear and our environment clean, which is why we have been emphasizing the message ‘secure your load.’ Provincial regulations require large objects to be properly secured with straps or ropes, and loose objects must be covered with a tarp or netted material. The Provincial Government continues to work with police officials and municipalities to promote compliance, protect the environment, and keep motorists safe.” - The Honourable Dan Crummell, Minister of Service NL The cleanup of the ORR took place over three days throughout the summer June 14, June 28 and August 9. Investment of $19.2 million for Route 11 through Strategic Infrastructure Initiative Work will soon begin on the twinning of Route 11 between Route 15 and the Shediac River thanks to funding from the provincial and federal governments. “Strategic infrastructure investments are a cornerstone of our government’s plan to create jobs and stimulate New Brunswick’s economy,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “Route 11 is a key transportation corridor for many businesses from all regions throughout the province. These upgrades to Route 11 will facilitate the movement of people and goods which will in turn help us create jobs and will improve highway safety.” Phase 1 includes twinning 6.8 kilometres of highway from Route 15 to the south side of the Shediac River, construction of one new interchange, as well as a new grade separation and modifications to three other existing interchanges. The 2015-16 provincial capital budget allocat-
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ed $19.2 million to begin this work through the provincial government’s Strategic Infrastructure Initiative. The Route 11 twinning project was selected to receive funding for up to half of the eligible costs, to a maximum of $27 million under the federal government’s New Building Canada Plan. “I am pleased that we are starting construction on Route 11,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Roger Melanson. “This project is of great importance for safety, trucking, trade and travel. It will also boost our economy, both in the short-term through immediate job creation and in the long-term through the building of strategic infrastructure to support economic development.” Route 11 is a part of the national highway system. The section of highway to be twinned in the Shediac area has a traffic count of about 19,000 vehicles per day with seasonal peaks exceeding this volume. One of the busiest areas is the Shediac interchange at Route 15 where traffic flowing from Moncton, Cap-Pelé, Scoudouc, Prince Edward Island, Shediac and further north meets. “The federal government is committed to supporting our communities so we can ensure a better quality of life for all Canadians and their families” said Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe MP Robert Goguen. “With the New Building Canada Fund, our government’s support for public infrastructure and strengthening our communities has never been stronger. We are pleased to work with the Government of New Brunswick to invest in Highway 11 and approve other projects under the New Building Canada Fund. These investments are focused on creating jobs, promoting growth, and building strong, prosperous communities across Canada.” Goguen attended the event for Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Denis Lebel. Tenders are now being prepared for the following work during the 2015 construction season: • Route 15 westbound lanes realignment and the installment of a large precast concrete box culvert under the west and eastbound lanes of Route 15, including grading and paving of the detour. Twin 2.1 kilometres and grade the new Route 11 southbound lanes between Route 134 and the Shediac River. A new Route 133 interchange will be constructed on the extension of the current Route 133. As well modifications will be made to the Route 134 northbound ramp, and the service road will be extended to Route 133. A new underpass will be built on Route 133. A grading, paving, signing and lighting contract will com-
East Truckers Coast Corner Road Report
plete the new Route 11 southbound lanes and the Route 134 northbound ramps. Government Issues Request for Proposals for Tolling Feasibility Study Government issued a request for proposals June 19, to conduct a province-wide tolling feasibility study to twin 100 series highways. “Nova Scotians have said repeatedly they want safer highways through twinning,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan. “Given our fiscal situation and the extremely high cost of twinning highways, we are exploring the option of tolling through a feasibility study. “Before any action is taken on tolling, residents will have their say. I want to be clear, government will not implement tolls unless Nova Scotians say they want it.” Government’s intention to look at tolling as a way to twin 100 series highways sooner was announced April 28 during the release of the Highway 101, 103 and 104 safety studies. The study will look at eight sections of series 100 highways to determine the feasibility of constructing toll highways, a total of 301.2 kilometres: • • • • • • Highway 101, Three Mile Plains to Falmouth, 9.5 km Highway 101, Hortonville to Coldbrook, 24.7 km Highway 103, Exit 5 at Tantallon to Exit 12 B’water, 71 km Highway 104, Sutherlands River to Antigonish, 37.8 km Highway 104, Taylors Road to Aulds Cove, 38.4 km Highway 104, Port Hastings to Port
Hawkesbury, 6.75 km Highway 104, St. Peter’s to Sydney 80 km Highway 107, Porters Lake to Duke Street, Bedford 33 km
ment procurement site, http://novascotia.ca/tenders/tenders/tender-details. aspx?id=DRAFTRFP150619 New Legislation Toughens Penalties for Distracted Driving Recent amendments to the Highway Safety Act create tougher penalties for those caught driving while using handheld communication devices, says Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Paula Biggar. “It is sad to see collisions on our Island roads that could be prevented if drivers would understand the dangers of distracted and impaired driving,” said Minister Biggar. “Distracted driving is just as serious as impaired driving. Using a phone while driving is dangerous and deadly.” The amended Highway Safety Act incre ases the fine for operating a vehicle while using a handheld communication device from between $250-500 to between $500-$1200. There is also an increase in demerit points. Violators will now receive five demerit points, up from three demerit points. Changes to the Graduated Driver Licensing Regulations will mean any new drivers in this program will have their license suspended if convicted of an offence for operating a handheld communication device while driving. There will be a 30 day driver license suspension for a first offence, and for any subsequent offence, they will lose their license for 90 days. “Doctors see firsthand the results of distracted driving with collision victims in our emergency departments and legislation is yet another incentive to stay focused while driving,” noted Dr. Jill Cunniffe, President of the Medical Society of PEI. “Drivers need to remember to keep their eyes on the road or risk life-altering consequences.” To learn more about the penalties for distracted or impaired driving, visit www. gov.pe.ca/highwaysafety.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
• Once the study is completed, the information will be brought to the public through a series of consultations, both in person and online, to allow all Nova Scotians to have their say. “I recognize tolling is an issue that will impact anyone who drives our roads and one that certainly generates a lot of discussion around Nova Scotia dinner tables,” said Mr. MacLellan. “That’s why it’s so important that we provide accurate information people can use to make an informed decision. Once the study authors have the information together, everyone will have a chance to weigh in.” The feasibility study request for proposals will differ slightly from others issued by government. The request will have the estimated cost of the study -$1.5 million -- and will give prospective bidders a 14-day opportunity to provide feedback before the final request for proposals is posted. Based on the feedback, timing of the study or other technical aspects could change. “This is unique study both in its size and scope. It’s essentially eight studies in one,” said Mr. MacLellan. “While the feasibility study will be expensive, the information we obtain from this study will be critical to giving Nova Scotians what they need to make a decision about whether or not they want tolls. “If it’s decided tolls will not go ahead, the information from the study will still be very valuable to government for longterm highway planning.” The report will be completed by end of April 2016. This will include public consultation and final report. The request for proposals is posted on the govern-
n o v e m b e r 2015