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Tech & Safety //

Get a grip

Winter tires let you hit the road and stay in control

31.10.2011 / Comments | Print | Email

Drive safely this winter with snow tires

Drive safely this winter with snow tires

Being prepared for winter driving means making sure your vehicle is ready for the snow and cold weather. Opting for winter tires instead of all-season tires is a good place to start, so here's what you should know when it comes to driving this winter:

Winter Tires 101
All-season tires are made of a harder rubber that's great for dry conditions but loses elasticity on wet roads and when temperatures are low. Winter tires, on the other hand, are made from softer rubber compounds that stay flexible and elastic in temperatures below 7 C and on snow- or ice-covered roads. Snow tires also have deeper tread patterns than all-seasons; treads that are designed to get a better grip on the road and help prevent skidding and improve braking when driving conditions are less than desirable.

All-season tires have a "Mud and Snow" (M+S) symbol on their sidewall. While this designation means that they're OK for light snow, by no means are their narrower treads good enough to handle the harsh road conditions Canadian drivers deal with during the winter months.

Winter tires have a symbol of a mountain and snowflake on the sidewall. The treads are wider and deeper than all-season treads, and they're designed to disperse snow and ice more effectively and perform as much as 130% to 150% better in severe weather. They allow drivers to better handle their vehicles and stop much sooner when driving on ice or snow.

The experts agree
Two winter tires are simply not enough. For the safest ride, four winter tires will give you the best traction, stability and control in snowy and icy conditions. Consider this: Having winter tires on only the front wheels of your front-wheel-drive car means there's a greater chance your car will spin out when you hit the brakes. Alternatively, your rear-wheel-drive car may be tough to handle or steer if winter tires are solely on the back wheels.

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