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The Importance of Winter Tires

Like all drivers in the province, you know that you’ll need to put winter tires on your car by December 15th at the latest. It goes without saying that you will do so because it’s the law, but if it weren’t mandatory, would you put winter tires on your car anyways or would you just ride year-round with 4 seasons tires? Read on to understand why you should never hesitate to switch to winter tires in cold weather.

Better Grip + Better Traction = Greater Safety

This point is not really a matter of personal opinion. Winter tires are literally designed to provide better grip on asphalt roads in cold weather, where summer tires start to show gaps in that regard as early as 7 degrees Celsius! Better grip also means better traction, and these elements both lead to the factor that is perhaps the most important when it comes to winter tires: a significantly shorter braking distance, even on snow. This is a basic safety issue, and you would be oblivious to drive in winter without proper tires, no matter what the law says.

Design Matters

Some of you will read the previous paragraph (which only mentions facts well known to the general public) and wonder if the virtues of winter tires are not exaggerated. After all, a tire is a tire, right? Yes and no. Although winter tires are virtually indistinguishable from those of summer to the naked eye, the technology used in their design is very different. Indeed, the concentration of natural rubber in winter tires is significantly higher than in other types of tires. This gives them greater flexibility, which explains (partially) their superior adhesion to the road in cold weather. Beyond the rubber concentration, the other element to consider is therubbercompound used in the design of winter tires. It allows the tire to warm up better at low temperatures, unlike summer tires that harden under similar conditions. Still skeptical? Winter tires have an average of 10 times more slots on their tread to ensure quick release of harmful elements such as slush and water, reducing the risk of skidding.

A little skepticism is often a good thing, but when your safety- or your life - and the one of people you share the road with is at stake, accept the scientific consensus. Forget even December 15thand install your winter tires as soon as the thermometer ventures down 10 degrees Celsius several days in the row.