Winter tires provide you with extra traction, handling and braking that you’ll need to drive on ice and snow. They have special rubber compounds and a tread design to handle colder temperatures. The tread pattern is flexible and prevents snow build-up in order to assist with traction on icy roads. Even at low speeds, a car with winter tires will have shorter stopping distances than a vehicle with all-season tires. Without winter tires you are more likely to lose control of your vehicle on ice or snow covered roads.
The safety features of your vehicle are designed and manufactured for your protection. ABS or anti-lock brake systems may not work as well with an all season tire, under ice & snow conditions. Vehicle dynamic and traction control systems become limited by the grip your tire provides. 4WD and AWD vehicles do not have much of an advantage when driving on ice. There’s a definite advantage with acceleration, stopping and turning when driving on winter tires.
An all season tire is rated for mud and snow but they will pack with snow causing traction loss. If you drive in moderate to severe ice & snow conditions during winter, you should consider installing a set of winter tires. In 1999, the Rubber Association of Canada and the Rubber Manufacturers’ Association developed a snow tire grading by introducing an iconic snow-flake symbol. Winter tires that include this stamp are designed for severe ice & snow conditions and meet ice & snow traction requirements for vehicle performance. This makes for safer winter driving.
When purchasing winter tires are you should consider buying winter rims as well. This will save time and money when it comes to tire change-overs in the spring and fall. A good time to install winter tires and rims is when the weather hits 10 degrees Celsius or lower. Tire storage options should be considered so your tires are not exposed to ozone or harsh weather elements as this may cause them to deteriorate slowly.
Winter tires should be installed in sets of 4 rather than pairs, as you will experience better control of your vehicle along with peace-of-mind while driving on ice or snow. Even with winter tires on, you should still take your time travelling from point A to B in wintery type road conditions. Be safe this winter!