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When should you install winter tires
Don't be fooled by the weather: Winter driving starts at 7°C!
As early as the month of October, it's time for Canadians to rethink winter driving. Most drivers install their winter tires after the first major snowstorm, but this should actually happen once the temperature falls to +7°C. In most of Canada, this is usually in October or early November, and is long before the snow starts to fall.
Seven isn't such a lucky number for all-season tires - at this temperature the rubber of all-season tires begins to harden, decreasing handling and braking capabilities.
With erratic and extreme weather patterns increasing across the country, it's essential to be properly prepared before heading out on the road. When unpredictable weather creates hazardous driving conditions, the softer silica rubber compound of a winter tire provides optimum performance on wet, slippery road conditions.
“Winter tires are constructed to perform better in hazardous driving conditions, and this includes everything from wet, slippery surfaces to frosty roads to snow. Winter tires push water away and cut through snow to grip the road surface,” says Normand Latrémouille, Winter Category Manager for Michelin North America. “Winter tires offer drivers peace of mind on challenging winter roads - they're an investment in safety.”
Peace of mind on winter roads
Four properly installed winter tires mean improved vehicle response time, and this translates to safer winter driving. Studies have shown that vehicles equipped with winter tires have up to 25% shorter braking distance, which can improve collision avoidance by about 38%.
Advances in automotive technology mean that many vehicles are now equipped with features that improve control in hazardous winter driving conditions. Ultimately, these technologies are only as good as the traction offered by the four tires against the road surface.
“There is a common misconception amongst drivers that if their vehicle has antilock brakes, electronic stability control or all-wheel-drive, they don't need winter tires,” says Richard Spénard, a professional race car driver and spokesperson for Michelin North America. “But through extensive testing of the Michelin X-Ice, we've found that vehicles with these features brake and corner on slippery surfaces most effectively if they're equipped with four winter tires.”
Did you know that…?
· Single-vehicle injury-producing collisions peak in November and December
· The percentage of loss of control involving one or more vehicles is much higher when the vehicles involved are equipped with all-season tires
· A proper winter tire can improve braking by up to 25% over an all-season radial and can improve collision avoidance by about 38%
· If you can only afford two winter tires, always put the on the rear, whether your car is front- or rear-wheel drive
· Typically the lowest temperature of the day occurs just after sunrise, which means most Canadians' morning winter commute occurs at the day's lowest temperature
· Single LTV rollovers cause more deaths and injuries to their occupants than automobile rollovers in proportion to the number of single-vehicle collisions
Posted 2008. CarTest.ca