The decision to switch to winter tires

Winter driving can be a challenge, so ensuring a car’s tires are up to the task can give drivers extra piece of mind. The question of switching to winter tires is an endless debate and often a hard decision to make.

The cold slippery conditions that winter brings each year are approaching quickly. Winter driving can be a challenge, so ensuring a car’s tires are up to the task can give drivers extra piece of mind. The question of switching to winter tires is an endless debate and often a hard decision to make.

The Canadian Automobile Association even went as far to pass a law that all vehicles in Quebec must be equipped with winter tires between December 15 and March 15 according to CBC.ca News. The law took effect before last winter. An article from CBC.ca News says, “A provincial task force on road safety has estimated that prior to the law coming into effect, more than one-third of winter accidents in Quebec were being caused by vehicles without winter tires.”

Is it safer to switch to winter tires when driving in slippery, ice and snow-covered conditions? Is it ok to leave the winter tires on year-round? CarsDirect.com came up with some very helpful advantages and disadvantages to consider before purchasing snow tires:

·         Snow Tire Advantage: Better Grip

o   When roads are covered in snow or ice, snow tires are indisputably superior to all season tires. Snow tires are specifically built for the purpose of having maximum grip in snowy and icy conditions. Softer and better gripping rubber, very deep treads and sometimes hard studs combine to give snow tires the most traction possible. If you live in an area where winters are harsh, snow tires are a must; all season tires simply won’t cut it.

·         Snow Tire Advantage: Superior Braking

o   When conditions are poor, braking can be vital. All season tires are liable to lock up and skid on icy roads, but with the entire superior grip explained above, snow tires can dig into the snow and ice to allow you to brake the way you need to.

·         Snow Tire Disadvantage: Handling

o   Snow tires offer less precise handling than all season tires due to the way they are built. In bad conditions, drive even more carefully than usual since your control over your vehicle will be less than you might be used to in better weather. Snow tires can’t fully compensate for the effects of icy roads, and you shouldn’t expect them to.

·         Snow Tire Disadvantage: Tough on Roads

o   The design which gives snow tires such fantastic grip on ice and snow, especially when they have studs, also causes them to dig harshly into asphalt. Keeping snow tires on your vehicle year round will tear up any road that you drive on and cause it to deteriorate faster. Over time, too many people with snow tires can create potholes and all sorts of other issues.

·         Snow Tire Disadvantage: Comparatively Fragile

o   Since snow tires are constructed from softer rubber than regular tires, they wear down more quickly. Driving with snow tires when the conditions don’t warrant them can wear down the tread and ruin the tire. In comparison, all season tires are sturdier and meant for constant use.

Snow tires have both advantages and disadvantages that are mostly dependent on the weather conditions. So, it’s important to know when to use snow tires and when to switch back to the all season tires. Make sure to use snow tires only when they will benefit your driving experience.

While winter tires can certainly help conquer snowy roads, some common sense can help as well. Play it safe this winter by following simple rules such as slowing down, or being prepared for the road conditions before heading out in your car.

CBC.ca News: http://www.cbc.ca/
CarsDirect.com: http://www.carsdirect.com/

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