More often than not, snow and ice on the roadways is a reality of our winter. As frigid temperatures make for dicey driving conditions, you may immediately regret going out for a drive with just your all-season tires.
Thankfully, you can avoid all that and get the traction you need by simply switching to winter tires at the start of the cold season. Although that might require a trip to the shop, it’s well worth the time and money. Here’s why.
Rubber Compounds Stay Flexible in Cold Weather
To get enough traction in snow and ice, winter tires use a softer rubber than the compound used in all-season and summer tires. The softer compound provides better grip over slippery surfaces as it conforms to the driving surface. Beyond that, it doesn’t freeze up and get rock hard like other types of tires do in cold weather. With that compound on your side, you can drive for longer without losing traction, getting you to all your destinations without worry.
The Tread Keeps Snow and Ice Out of the Grooves
If you’re using all-season tires in the winter, they allow the snow to build up within the treads, which then allows the tires to get covered in even more frozen debris. Before you know it, you’re trying to drive on four slick snowballs, leaving you sliding around uncontrollably. Since winter tires are purpose built to move through snow and slush, they come with grooves that can easily evacuate clumps of ice and snow. Then, with the tread fully exposed, the sipes and biting edges can give you the traction you need to move forward.
Improves Confidence During Winter Driving Excursion
With all-season tires, it’s only a matter of time before your vehicle starts slipping and sliding on frozen surfaces. When that occurs, you will likely feel your confidence disappear as you try to figure out how to safely get to your destination. A lack of confidence can seriously hamper your ability to stay calm, cool, and collected, potentially resulting in poor judgment and other problems down the road. Thankfully, winter tires change all that by keeping you well planted in adverse weather conditions.
Potential for Discounts on Auto Insurance
As is the case with a lot of things in Canada, the way each province approaches the use of winter tires varies. In Quebec, winter tires are mandatory from December 15 through March 15. In Ontario insurance regulations require carriers to provide discounts for drivers who put on winter tires. The exact discount varies from insurer to insurer, but can be as high as 5%. Manitoba has an incentive program that provide drivers with low-interest loans of up to $2,000 for buying winter tires and some of the associated costs.
To make the most of your winter tire purchase, you can follow these tips:
Replace All Four Tires with Winter Compounds
Using winter tires on all four wheels is a must with all-wheel drive vehicles, but it’s also a smart move on two-wheel drive models. Only equipping two winter tires on the drive wheels can leave the other ones slipping and sliding around as they lock up. So, switch to a full set of winter tires for excellent traction at all four corners.
Ease On and Off the Brakes in Icy Weather
Winter tires can increase your stopping power by up to 30%, but that doesn’t mean you should go heavy on the brakes during icy winter driving trips. Instead, you want to go slow and in a low gear to avoid having to use your brakes as much as possible. With that move, you also have a ton of time to gently depress the brakes and slow down enough to avoid obstacles ahead or come to a full stop.
Never Use Cruise Control
Although cruise control is convenient, it has no place in your winter weather driving excursions, especially if it’s icy or snowy out. You want to maintain full control of your vehicle’s speed, so you can modulate the throttle as needed to keep your vehicle planted.
Equip Your Car with Cold Weather Gear
You can go beyond winter tires by equipping your car with tons of emergency gear, like:
- First aid kit
- Basic tools
- Emergency flares
- Kitty litter
- Space blankets
- Extra change of clothes
- Food and water
- Spare tire and jack
With these items on hand, you can get through any emergency that occurs on your drives. You can also carry emergency roadside service coverage for an extra hand when dicey situations arise.
When you choose to switch out your tires for the cold season, you can greatly improve your safety during all your winter RV trips and driving adventures. Once you make that change, get in touch to let us know and learn about any discounts we may have for you.
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