Benefits of Winter Tires

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Do you have to drive in an area where snow abound? Then, the type of tire you use can make a major difference for your safety and your passengers'!

If you are like most drivers on the road, your car is equiped with all-season, wide or performance tires. Then you must know that those tires lose their grip when the temperature drops below 10 degrees Celcius.
The answer is simple: the design of winter tires makes them ideally suited for the cold season, improving performance and safety in a variety of road conditions.

The tread pattern of these tires also features grooves that are generally plentier and about 30-percent deeper, thus channelling water, snow and sludge away more effectively.

In addition, their rubber compound is softer and remains flexible even when the temperature drops to as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius. In comparison, an all-season tire considerably loses elasticity between minus 8 and minus 15 degrees.

Being more flexible at lower temperatures, winter tires offer superior grip. As a result, drivers enjoy greater control of their vehicle. Tire spin under acceleration is significantly reduced, while braking distances are up to 25-percent shorter than with all-season tires, according to Transports experts.

A study was conducted by the Quebec Transport Ministry in 2002. In a series of tests conducted at minus 20 degrees Celcius in 3 to 5 centimeters of compacted snow and ice on an asphalt surface, it showed that vehicles moving at 50 km/h and equipped with winter tires had stopping distances that were a little over 10 meters shorter on average compared to the same vehicle with all-season tires.
To get the most benefits from winter tires, you need to have some on all four wheels.

Mixing winter tires and all-season tires, and even winter tires with different tread design will affect the vehicle handling.
According the experts from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, studded tires are most effective on wet ice when the temperature is near zero, but don't outperform regular winter tires in other winter conditions.

Check the period during which studded tires are allowed to be used. Each province specific regulation appear below :

  • British Columbia : from October 1 to April 30.
  • Yukon Territories : No restriction.
  • Northwest Territories : No restriction.
  • Nunavut : No restriction.
  • Alberta : No restriction
  • Saskatchewan : No restriction.
  • Manitoba : from October 1 to April 30.
  • Ontario : Residents of the districts of Parry Sound and Nipissing only, from October 1st to April 30.
  • Quebec : from October 15 to May 1.
  • Nova Scotia : from October 15 to April 30.
  • New Brunswick : from October 15 to April 30.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador : from November 1st to April 30
Starting this year, the government of the province of Quebec wants all drivers from the province to have their cars equipped with winter tires during the cold season.

However vehicles registered outside of Quebec are not targeted by this regulation, except for certain rental vehicles.

In short, the law applies to passenger cars and taxis registered in Quebec as well as any rental car offered in the province regardless of where they are registered.

Yet this does not mean that you should not take advantage of the better driving winter tires can provide you with.