Get a grip: How can winter tires increase your safety and who needs them?

Nov 15, 2016 1 minute read

Get a grip: How can winter tires increase your saf...

Winter is a busy season for driving. If you live in an area of Canada that receives a moderate amount of snow and ice and if temperatures regularly fall below 7 C, you should consider having winter tires on your vehicle.

Winter tires allow you to stop up to 30 per cent sooner than all-season tires and significantly improve your vehicle’s handling in winter. This is primarily due to two reasons: the superior tracking and elasticity winter tires offer.

The traction of your tires is what allows them to grip the road, affecting your ability to control and stop your vehicle. Winter tires have more tread than all-season tires, allowing them to grip onto snow and ice-covered roads and provide superior traction.

Winter tires are composed of a type of rubber compound that allows them to be flexible in below-zero temperatures, as opposed to hardening. In contrast, all-season tires begin to harden once temperatures fall below 7 C. When this happens the rubber in all-season tires loses its grip, whereas “the specialized compounds in winter tires remain flexible well past -30 C, delivering up to 50 per cent more traction,” according to Wheels.ca.

Wheels.ca also notes that along with providing excellent traction in winter, the tread patterns on winter tires efficiently drain water and eject snow. The deep slits in the tread enhance the flexibility of winter tires and help them cut through water and slush.

We recommend purchasing tires with the official winter tire symbol, designated by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). This logo is known as the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol (see image below):

Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol

Tires with this symbol meet the TRAC’s snow traction performance requirements and have been designed specifically for harsh winter conditions. This symbol is located on the sidewall of tires. TRAC offers a list of winter tires available for purchase with this symbol.

TRAC also provides a winter tire buyer’s checklist, which includes information on what to look for when purchasing winter tires, when to install them and other helpful advice.

Can having winter tires qualify you for insurance discounts?

If you are an Ontario resident, you may receive auto insurance savings if you have winter tires. As of January 1, 2016, the Government of Ontario requires all insurance companies in the province to provide a discount to Ontario drivers who have winter tires.

We encourage you to stay safe on the roads this winter and be sure to contact your BrokerLink broker with any questions.