Canadians in Toronto and across the country are familiar with the hazards of driving in dangerous winter conditions. Even snowbirds might have become reacquainted with Canadian winters during times of closed borders.
While winter severity varies between provinces, the transition from summer to winter tires is the same all around the country.
When to switch to winter tires
It is important to understand that snow tires and winter tires are the same. Language-wise, safety authorities have realized that many vehicle owners waited for the first snowfall to have their summer tires exchanged for snow tires. By changing the term to winter tires, they want to encourage motorists to consider temperatures instead of snowfall as a sign to change tires. Superior tire performance is crucial once temperatures drop below +7°C.
What makes winter tires safer than summer and all-season tires?
- Winter tires perform better at temperatures lower than +7°C.
- The rubber compound used for winter tires is not as rigid and inflexible as summer and all-season tires.
- Winter treads have irregular edges and deeper grooves for better traction on icy, snowy, slushy, wet and dry cold surfaces.
- The traction of winter tires is better at -30°C than all-season tires at +4°C.
- Electronic stability control and other crash-avoidance technologies are ineffective if tires do not have adequate traction.
A car fitted with all-season tires needs 12.1 metres in icy conditions to come to a halt, while it would need only 6.4 metres to stop when sporting winter tires.
Driving in winter conditions in a car with winter tires increases the chances of arriving at the destination safely. However, there will always be negligent drivers who take to the winter roads on summer tires, putting their own and others’ lives at risk. Victims of such an accident might have grounds to pursue financial relief by filing personal injury lawsuits in a civil court.