The winter has started with a crazy vengeance and it looks like this year winter tires will be needed more than ever. Some years it's easier to get away with all-season tires on a vehicle but it doesn't look like this is going to be one of those years!
The difference between winter tires and all-season tires
All-season tires provide good performance in all seasons but aren't really suitable for severe winter driving conditions. Winter tires have tread patterns that channel through the tire, rubber compounds that are designed for cold weather, a tread with open patterns that help with traction in the deep snow and tiny slits that help control the vehicle on wet surfaces.
Once the weather hits about 5°C or lower, an all-season type of tire doesn't perform as well as a winter one. Winter tires are better able to move water out of the way and they provide faster and more precise steering and handling responses. Generally speaking, you'll be able to handle your car better in thick snow, slush and icy conditions with winter tires on your vehicle.
Install 2 or 4 tires?
According to transport Canada, it's better to install 4 tires instead of 2 since they provide more stability to the vehicle. Several garages will not replace only 2 tires at a time and only work with sets of 4.
The Ministry of Transport in Québec conducted a study showing that you have a 38% better chance of avoiding a collision when you're wearing winter tires. As well, braking can be improved by up to 25% when your car is equipped with winter tires versus all-season tires.
The time has definitely come for Calgarians to get their winter tires on! If you haven't done so yet, it would really be a good idea to go out and do it quickly. If the weather continues to be this brutal, a good pair of winter tires may just help you get through the winter collision-free.