The most important purchase you can make to ensure safe driving in winter is a good set of winter tires.
Did you know that having four winter tires on your vehicle reduces your braking distance by up to 25% or between 2 and 3 car-lengths? That could be the difference between worry-free stopping and a fender-bender, or worse, a severe accident.
Just because your new set of all-season tires has plenty of tread, it does not mean that you get tire performance equal, or even close to winter tires. The belief that all-season tires are effective on snow and ice is one of the most frustrating – and dangerous – misconceptions about winter driving. All season tires offer a compromise between driving in hot and cold conditions, that’s why experts and driving instructors often refer to them as “no-season tires”. A front-wheel drive economy car equipped with winter tires will out-stop and out-handle an all-wheel drive SUV in all-season tires every time.
Why Use Winter Tires?
Winter tires have a special rubber compound and tread designed to handle winter weather. The tire tread remains flexible when temperatures drop below 7°C, preventing snow buildup and helping maintain traction on icy roads.
We’ve seen people invest in expensive all-wheel drive SUVs or minivans loaded with the latest safety systems, thinking they’ve done everything they can to ensure their own and their family’s safety. And yet, they leave the all-season tires on, having been convinced by sales people that one tire will suffice throughout the year. They blame the weather or road conditions for the resulting slides or collisions.
The most important safety feature of any vehicle is the contact patch – that rectangular section of rubber where the tire meets the road. It does not matter if it’s a rear-wheel drive sports car, a front-wheel drive sedan or an all-wheel drive SUV. Many people skimp when it comes to buying tires, because they fall into a false sense of security, believing that their vehicle’s all wheel drive system is all they need for safe winter driving. All the technology in the world is no substitute for good grip – and only a winter tire (marked with the industry-standard mountain snowflake) designed for those specific conditions can provide sufficient grip when the temperature dips below zero.
What about ALL WEATHER Tires?
ALL WEATHER tire (not to be confused with ALL SEASON tires) is a new type of tire that over the last couple of years has been marketed as an alternative to WINTER tires. Even though it is an improvement over ALL SEASON tires, it is by no means a replacement for WINTER TIRES. “All weather” tires are basically “all season” tires that meet minimum requirements for “winter” tires, and are meant to be used in climates where winters are mild with minimal number of snow days. A good quality WINTER tire will outperform any “all weather” tire, especially in extreme winter weather conditions.
Visit Tirehaus to find out more about winter driving and to select winter tires that are right for your vehicle.