Winter Tires – Do You Need Them in Ontario?

Canada enjoys a variety of seasons and in winter, depending on which province you reside in, the cold weather coupled with bountiful quantities of snow can turn your commute into a nightmare. While all-season tires can be used to navigate most weather/road conditions, they may not be adequate for extreme winter conditions. For these, winter tires are a necessity.

Studies have shown that at temperatures below 7 °C, all-season tires stiffen up, resulting in less traction and a deterioration in braking distance and car handling. This increases your chances of getting into an accident when driving in colder weather. The main difference between winter and all-season tires is in the rubber compound used to make them. Winter tires are made of softer rubber that remains flexible when temperatures drop and maintain a grip on the road. In addition, winter tires have deeper threads that allow for a bigger bite and traction on snow and ice.

How much of a difference does it make if you are driving on all-season tires vs. winter tires in wintry conditions? it can be a lot as per numerous studies. Tests done by Consumer Reports show that winter tires stop six (6) feet shorter on average than all-season tires when braking on ice. Winter tires can be identified by a mountain snowflake symbol on their sidewall which denotes that they meet recommended snow traction performance requirements.

In Ontario, winter tires are recommended for winter driving but are not mandatory. There is a requirement that insurance companies offer a discount to drivers who have winter tires on their vehicles. This discount can be as high as 5%. Studded tires are allowed for vehicles in Northern Ontario between October 1 and April 30. Residents of Southern Ontario are prohibited from using studded tires.

Bottom line, Winter tires are a win-win. You will drive safer and may save some money on your insurance.

Article courtesy of: