Debating Winter Tires
Every winter, the debate continues in Canada… except for Quebec where winter tires are now the law. Canadians seem to ask themselves if they should invest in winter tires or get through the season with what they have. This year, especially in Ontario, winter doesn’t seem to want to go away , with treacherous snow and ice winter driving conditions. So why are we reluctant to accept the fact that when it comes to winter driving, winter tires are a necessity?
The Wisdom Behind Winter Tires
1. All-season tires just don’t do the trick when it comes to stopping distances. On icy or cold pavement, the stopping distance of a vehicle with winter tires can be 30 to 40 per cent shorter that that of all-season. This could make a great difference in a collision.
2. Although the treads are what drivers seem to focus on when it comes to a winter tire, it is actually the rubber compound that is most important. Designed to stay soft in freezing temperatures, the tire sticks to the road with the soft rubber. Other tires such as summer tires are designed to work in warm conditions and in cold circumstances, turn hard and do not grip the road. All-season tires cannot match the performance of winter tires under low temperatures.
3. Winter tires should be installed when the temperature falls below 7C. Don’t wait for snow. As the temperature falls, other tires will become inflexible, killing the traction. In Quebec, your vehicle must be equipped with winter tires between December 15 and March 15.
4. The performance of winter tires continues to improve. With advanced rubber compounds being developed, tires are becoming softer but performing better. In the old days, winter tires were designed with aggressive treads that made for a noisy ride. Today’s technology focuses in shallower treads that carry away the water film when the tire presses onto the snow and ice. This allows for a smoother, less noisy ride.
5. Although not recommended for daily driving, reducing the air pressure in your tires can help you in an emergency. By reducing the tire pressure, the tire’s contact area is increased. This is an emergency technique only and should not be used otherwise. You must drives slowly and re-inflate your tires to the correct pressure immediately after you get out of your emergency situation.
With law makers looking at winter tire legislation seriously, the debate when it comes to winter tires may disappear. Winter driving can be stressful but one thing is for sure, winter tires can help to alleviate that stress!