Many drive through the winter months on their all-season tires without consideration of installing winter tires for better traction and more safety. The term ‘all-season tire’ has proven to be incorrect and misleading when considering having to drive through winter conditions like snow, ice and sleet.
All-season tires are constructed of a firm rubber that hardens and stiffens in colder temperatures. This results in a lack of friction and traction when driving through the harsh elements that winter brings. The tread design is also not meant for sufficient performance in winter elements.
This is why having winter tires is important in maintaining your safety on the roadways. Winter tires are manufactured with a soft rubber that stays soft through the temperatures of winter. This allows the tire to wrap around and grip to protrusions on ice and pavement. Winter tires are also designed with more treads that are able to battle snow, ice, sleet and rain. The treads take on snow as you drive over it, creating more friction and stability as you continue on your way. Because stopping and turning corners are dependent on the level of traction your tires have with the surface, winter tires outperform all-season tires, which will often make you slide off course, off the road, or into another vehicle.
When considering stopping distance, winter tires provide distances 30%-40% less than that of all-season tires. If you lose control with winter tires, all you need to do is slow your speed and control the steering wheel gently in the direction you want to go. You will regain traction quickly, whereas all-wheel tires will keep your vehicle in an out of control state.
Who needs winter tires on their vehicle?
It’s suggested that those that live in areas that have winters with temperatures under 45 degrees should have winter tires on their vehicles. A good schedule to follow is having winter tires on your vehicle from Thanksgiving to Easter. With your off-season tires, it’s good to store them in a cool, dry area that is out of the sun, wrapped in a black trash bag to prevent oxidization from occurring.
Many comparative tests have been performed that challenges all-season tires against winter tires in winter elements. It never fails that being equipped with winter tires, a vehicle performs better and provides a much higher level of safety for all occupants and others on the road.
If you live in the colder elements, make sure you get your all-season tires swapped out for winter tires this season. Make the road safe for yourself and for others.
**Winter tire fun fact
Winter tires are required in Quebec, where winter collisions are down 17% and serious accidents (causing serious injury or death) are down 36%, since the law was put into place in 2008.