Why Winter Tires? Safety and to Save Money
More and more drivers are heeding the message about the importance of installing winter tires.
On Jan. 1, 2016, the Ontario government introduced new legislation that compelled insurance companies to offer discounts to drivers who install winter tires on their cars. The discounts can be as high as 5 per cent.
The reasoning for the legislation is twofold: to reduce insurance costs for motorists, and to enhance road safety during the winter months.
Although all provinces recommend the installation of winter tires, Quebec is the only province where motorists are legally required to have four winter tires installed on their vehicle, from Dec. 15 to March 15.
Since the new Ontario legislation came into effect, winter tire sales have increased at many dealerships and tire retailers across Ontario. At my Toyota store, we have seen a 15 per cent increase in winter tire sales in the past two years, which I partly attribute to the new legislation.
More and more drivers are heeding the message about the importance of installing winter tires. If you are someone who needs further proof of the benefits of winter tires over seasonal tires, please read on.
A Traffic Injury Research Foundation report (2012) suggests that “in most of the known experimental studies and demonstration projects performed with different vehicles on various surfaces, winter tires outperformed all-season tires and summer tires in winter driving conditions … in terms of traction, cornering and braking.”
Tests have shown that proper winter tires can reduce collision avoidance by up to 40 per cent and improve braking by up to 25 per cent. They also improve a driver’s ability to keep a vehicle on course while turning.
Winter tires are designed for cold and slippery road surfaces and when air temperatures drop below 7 C. The rubber compounds in winter tires are softer than regular (all-season) tires and better able to grip road surfaces.
When installing winter tires, Transport Canada recommends matching sets of four. Mixing and matching tires can be dangerous and result in a loss of control of a vehicle. Although most new cars and light duty trucks are designed with front-wheel drivetrains, all four identical tires should be replaced/installed at the same time.
When changed annually, a set of four winter or seasonal tires should last approximately 80,000 to 120,000 kilometres. However, tire life ultimately depends on a number of factors, such as driving conditions, wheel alignment/balancing, type of driving, and proper tire inflation.
New car dealership offers a full selection of winter tires for most makes and models, and many offer tire storage at very competitive prices. Dealers purchase winter tires in bulk during the spring and summer. They are extremely competitive on price, and those tires are in stock now.
Winter tires aside, all drivers have a responsibility to drive safely, which means slowing down and using extra caution in winter conditions.
Safe driving also means obeying speed limits, avoiding reckless driving and other illegal activities, such as drinking and driving, and texting and driving. One false move or bad decision while behind the wheel can alter lives forever. Safe driving should be a priority for all drivers at all times of the year.
For added safety on the roads this winter, drivers can use a service called Ontario 511 (www.511on.ca). This handy tool is a bilingual digital traveller information service provided by the Ministry of Transportation that predicts road conditions and offers access to traffic and weather cameras.
Make that appointment today to have winter tires installed on your vehicle. Avoid the rush after the first snowfall and help to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.
This column represents the views and values of the TADA. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to tada.ca. Susan Gubasta is president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association and is president/CEO of Mississauga Toyota. For information about automotive trends and careers, visit carsandjobs.com.
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