Wintery conditions can make roads difficult and even dangerous to traverse. In fact, winter driving can be so hazardous, some provinces like British Columbia have made winter tires mandatory on some roads. Prior to purchasing winter tires, it’s critical to understand your options and some general best practices. Though heavily recommended, they are not mandatory in Ontario in a ruling from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
Below are some fast facts and tips regarding winter tires:
- While all-season tires are made for a variety of conditions, winter tires are built specifically to perform in low temperatures, ice, slush, and snow.
- Effective winter tires will have at least a 3.5-millimeter tread as well as a symbol of a mountain and a snowflake. This symbol indicates the tires have good traction on ice and snow.
- It’s important to never mix different styles of tires, as this can compromise overall stability.
- You should maintain air pressure in your winter tires to extend your tread lifespan.
- Inspect your winter tires regularly for cracks, cuts, or bulges. Replace tires immediately if you suspect they are failing or if the tread is especially worn.
- Knowing the different types of tires is important to your overall safety and making the right purchasing decision. There are a variety of different tires on the market, including all-season, high-performance, all-terrain, and snow tires. It’s important to do thorough research and to speak to an expert before fitting your vehicle with tires.
Winter tires are critical to road safety in hazardous conditions. In fact, when compared to all-season tires, vehicles equipped with winter tires have been shown to decrease the stopping distance of a car by 30 to 40 percent.
If you do decide to equip your vehicle with snow tires, follow the 7 degrees celsius rule. When the average temperatures drop below 7 degrees, usually around late October to mid-November, it’s time to put them on. Come the spring, when the average temperature goes above 7 degrees, it’s time to have them removed. Keeping winter tires on your vehicle during the warmer months can degrade the quality of the rubber and reduce the life span of your tires.
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