In Canada, Quebec is the only province to require all its motorists to equip their cars with tires adapted to the winter season. For people who have lived in Quebec their whole life, this may seem a little surprising, but in other provinces, all-season tires are in vogue. Indeed, over there, not changing your tires once the cold season arrives is not a marginal phenomenon. A recent survey by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada shows that, outside of Quebec, more than a third of motorists adopt this practice!
Why do 35% of Canadian drivers prefer to avoid visiting their garage when it is not forced on them? While some have mentioned high fees or simply a reduced driving frequency, these are not the main reasons. More than half had the same answer: their full confidence in the efficiency of their all-season tires. However, there are many reasons to believe that this efficiency is unfortunately not sufficient during the winter season, especially in our harsh Canadian winters.
Cold weather, cracking tires.
There are two major differences between winter tires and all-season tires: the composition of their rubber and the shape of their tread. When a manufacturer designs a product to run year-round in a variety of temperatures, they usually use a balanced rubber compound. Neither too firm nor too soft, it will have adequate average grip on most road surfaces. In most countries of the world, these tires are perfectly usable during all four seasons, hence their name.
In a more northern country like Canada, however, cold winter temperatures harden the rubber on the tires, which can make them brittle or even cause a flat tire. That’s where winter tires come in. Their rubber is specially designed with our type of weather in mind. By staying soft even in sub-zero temperatures, it allows the tires to grip the road better. Generally, their tread is also shaped so as to remove snow and ice, reducing the risk of loss of control.
Although one third of Canadian drivers outside of Quebec say they don’t use winter tires on their cars, don’t take the risk! Too often, it’s easy to overestimate the grip of your tires and the unexpected makes it all the more perilous. In fact, in a survey by the same firm, 81% of winter tire owners believe that they were able to avoid a collision or loss of control. This winter, take the road to safety. You could save money, or even your life!