Between potholes, countless "rues barrées" and snow clearing season, Quebec drivers may feel like they deserve a break. Now, they're actually getting one — at least when it comes to the amount they pay for license renewals, which will only cost $24 for most motorists in the new year.
Class 5 (passenger vehicle) or 6 (motorcycle) license holders who are renewing their licenses in 2022 still have to pay licence fees and administrative fees, but do not have to contribute to the cost of insurance.
Without the discount, insurance would have cost these drivers $83.62 in 2022, according to The Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ). That plus license and admin fees would have added up to around $107.62 instead of just $24.
The surplus, it said, came from a combination of "higher than expected investment income" over the past 10 years and improved "road balance." It said there was a "significant decrease in the number of road accident victims" in 2020, meaning fewer claims had to be paid out.
The "insurance contribution vacation," as the SAAQ called it, will actually be applied over the course of two years, so you can expect to pay a reduced rate in 2023 as well. The SAAQ estimated that drivers will save at least $184 during the two-year period.
It's important to note that the payment vacation will not affect the existing insurance plan, which remains in place, the SAAQ said.
There is, however, an exception to the "insurance contribution vacation." If you've racked up demerit points, you'll still pay the SAAQ for insurance — albeit at a reduced rate — on top of your license and admin fees. The insurance contribution will cost you between $52.29 and $436.89, depending on the number of demerit points you've accumulated.
A Quebec police task force made up of the Montreal police (SPVM), the Contrôle routier Québec (CRQ) and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) gave out a bunch of tickets to Montreal drivers on Tuesday for not having their winter tires installed.
In an operation that took place on Tuesday morning on boulevard Crémazie Est and 24e avenue in the borough of Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension, police intercepted more than 200 vehicles and issued 43 statements of offence, according to a press release from the SPVM.
Op\u00e9ration pneus d\u2019hiver : le #SPVM et ses partenaires s\u2019unissent pour la s\u00e9curit\u00e9 routi\u00e8re. \nD\u00e9tails http://bit.ly/3dwXfm3
Of the 43 statements of offence issued, the SPVM said that 26 had to do with tires and 17 with registration, licences or insurance.
Six drivers were issued warnings and two vehicles were towed away.
Winter tires are mandatory in Quebec from December 1 until March 15. If you get caught driving without winter tires, you could face fines between $200 and $300.
According to the SAAQ, "Your vehicle must be equipped with four winter tires that meet established standards and are in good condition." The organization recommends you check your tires are still safe if you've used them in years past.
The SAAQ says that "the tread depth of your tires should be at least 4.8 mm (6/32 in) across the entire width of the tire when they are installed." So make sure before you head out on that winter road trip!
The SPVM reminded drivers in Montreal that "using tires in good condition can make all the difference in an emergency situation."
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
In fact, Environment Canada put out a special weather alert for the following areas:
Châteauguay - La Prairie
Longueuil - Varennes
"A system from Colorado will move into Western Quebec late in the day on Sunday and reach eastern parts of the province on Monday morning," the alert says.
It says the storm could start with snow and then turn into freezing rain overnight on Sunday.
"Forecast precipitation types and amounts will become more certain as the event draws nearer and warnings will be issued as needed," Environment Canada says.
Meanwhile, MétéoMédia is predicting up to 25 centimetres of snow in parts of Quebec. It also predicts strong winds gusting up to 80 km/hour in the Greater Montreal area. This could even lead to power outages.
What road closures can drivers expect this weekend?
Quebec's transportation ministry issued a press release outlining several obstacles on Greater Montreal roads throughout the December 3 weekend.
Between Longueuil and Montreal, Highway 25 northbound will be closed from exit 90 (R-132, A-30, La Prairie, Varennes) on Highway 20 west and the entrance to rue Notre-Dame Est / Curatteau — a stretch that includes the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel. The closure is set to start Saturday at 12:30 a.m. and last until Monday at 5 a.m.
On the South Shore, expect the following closures starting at 11:30 p.m. on Friday:
Ramps leading from R-132 east and west (Exits 89-N) to Highway 25 north
East and west entrances to boulevard Marie-Victorin
Entrance to rue de l'Île-Charron
In Boucherville, at the Highway 20 / Highway 30 Interchange, the ramp leading from Highway 20 to Highway 30 west / Vaudreuil-Dorion will be closed between Friday at 10:30 p.m. and Monday at 5 a.m.
Between Montreal and Brossard, at the end of the Samuel-De Champlain Bridge towards the South Shore (Highway 10 east, Highway 15 south), there's a partial closure of two out of three lanes, Saturday and Sunday from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In Montreal, two traffic lanes on Avenue Papineau southbound between rue Sherbrooke and rue Ontario will be closed for maintenance from Friday at 9:30 a.m. to Monday at 6 a.m.
Note that some or all construction work may be postponed due to the weather.
Have you put on your winter tires yet? If you live in Quebec and haven't done it yet, you could be in trouble.
The SAAQ says that from "December 1 to March 15, your vehicle must be equipped with four winter tires that meet established standards and are in good condition" — it's the law.
And really, if you haven't installed your winter tires already, good luck.
In addition to booked-up shops, a CTV report indicates that given short supplies, drivers should be prepared for higher prices for tires than in years past.
Whether you're installing old tires or buying new ones, the SAAQ recommends that you check the treads.
It says online that for optimal traction "the tread depth of your tires should be at least 4.8 mm (6/32 in) across the entire width of the tire when they are installed."
If you're caught without winter tires after December 1, the police could issue you a ticket between $200 and $300 bucks, plus additional costs.
While there are some exceptions for winter tires in Quebec, they are few and very specific. Motor homes, for instance, are among the SAAQ's list of exceptions. But when was the last time you saw a Winnebago on a Montreal street in the winter?
There are also exceptions for the first week following the purchase of a new car and the last week of a vehicle lease that's at least a year long.
Seriously, book an appointment to get your tires changed if you haven't already. You could save yourself from getting an expensive ticket this winter.
Warning: You're likely to get pulled over and fined if you're seen "driving a vehicle covered with snow, ice or any other material that may become loose and could present a danger to other road users."