Why Winter Tires Should Only Be Used In Winter

In addition to their costs, owning and maintaining a car or truck takes a lot of your time too. And, if you feel your vehicle uses up too much of your time, you might wonder if you can drive with winter tires all year round. That way, you could at least avoid the twice-yearly visit to the service centre just to get your winter tires swapped out for your summer tires or all-season tires.

3 Reasons Why You Should Never Drive with Your Winter Tires Year-Round 

Yes, you read that clearly. We said “never” and we said it because it’s a matter of the personal safety of you and your passengers.

  1. They Don’t Grip As Well – This might sound counterintuitive. Winter tires are designed for grip, aren’t they? But they are designed for grip in far colder temperatures and different road conditions than those we get in a Canadian summer. Winter tires are made from a different rubber compound and tread pattern than summer tires. In summer, the rubber compound on winter tires becomes very pliable, which can increase slippage. And the wider tread patterns mean less rubber on the road.
  2. They Don’t Stop Your Car as Quickly – In addition to increased pliability, which can promote skidding, a winter tire’s tread blocks suffer more degradation under braking. This includes literally dissolving, which makes their surface more slippery. Or they can start to marble as small bits of rubber break off, which also creates a slippery effect under the tires. In tests, winter tires require 15% more stopping distance on average versus summer tires when coming to a stop from 100 km/h, under dry, summer conditions. And that increases your chance of minor collisions. 
  1. It Is More Difficult to Control Your Car – That 15% number also applies to how much less steering precision you have when you drive with winter tires in summer conditions.

Less grip, longer stopping distances and more difficult controls also increase your chances of a careless driving ticket if you are found at fault in a collision that could have been avoided with summer tires.

If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article “What to Do if You get caught in a Speed Trap”. 




Why All-Season Tires Won’t Cut It In Canada’s Winters

Its that time of year when drivers across Canada have the “winter tires vs all-season tires” debate.

The Two Sides Of The Debate 

On the winter tires side, there really isn’t a debate. The winner is clear. Winter tires provide better traction to start moving, and stop, while driving on snow and ice. Consumer Reports testing found that, on average, winter tires will stop a car almost two metres shorter than all-season tires. 

There are three main ways in which winter tires are designed better than all-seasons for driving on ice, snow and slush.

  • Tread Patterns & Depth – Snow tires feature deeper and wider tread patterns that are designed to minimize snow build-up in the treads, and to channel away snow, slush and water. They also have biting edges, or tiny slits, on the side of the tread for added ice and snow traction.

  • Rubber Compounds – Winter tires are made of softer rubber compounds that give them better grip in colder temperatures.

  • Tire Widths – Winter tires are generally narrower than all-seasons so they don’t “float” on top of snow and ice.

Interestingly, many all-season tires proponents concede that winter tires are better for driving in winter conditions. Their argument is that, depending on where you live, winter’s snow and icy conditions only happen a few times a year and that the winter performance characteristics of all-seasons are enough to get them through those few times.

When All-Season Tires Won’t Cut It  

But there’s one scenario where all-season tires can have dire consequences when used in winter conditions. If we take that average difference in stopping distance of almost two metres, and apply it to the case of young drivers tackling their first winters with little or no winter driving experience, the consequences of not using winter tires can be catastrophic.  

If you found this article helpful, check out our recent post about how long demerit points stay on your driving record.




How to Stop a Fake Car Accident Claim

It’s an auto insurance scam that costs car insurance companies millions of dollars in fraudulent claims. A cost that’s handed down to drivers in the form of higher insurance rates. Insurance fraud through a fake car accident claim is on the rise across Canada and no driver should feel immune from becoming a victim.

How Fake Car Accidents Happen

Sometimes called staged accidents, they can happen in many different ways. The following are among the most common set-ups that scammers use to make claims for staged collisions.

  • Another vehicle intentionally drives into your vehicle
  • Real accidents with injury claims for victims who were not involved in the accident, or for fake injuries.
  • Accident reports for auto accidents that did not happen

In addition to paying for the overall cost of fake insurance claims through higher average insurance rates, innocent drivers may also face increased rates for their own car insurance if they are found “at fault” in a staged accident.

6 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Fake Car Accidents Claims

If you are in a car accident, take the following steps to reduce your chance of becoming the victim of a car insurance scam.

  1. Get full names and contact information (mailing address, telephone number, email address) for the other driver(s) and the other occupant(s) of the vehicle(s).
  2. Write or record your observations about the physical condition of the other driver(s) and occupant(s). Are they injured? What’s been injured? Or are they walking around without any apparent injury?
  3. Use a camera or your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene. Take images of the overall scene from different angles. Take images of each car involved in the accident. Get images of the license plates of each car involved, and pictures of the damage to each car.
  4. When police arrive, ask for a copy of their accident report. If police don’t attend, write down everything you can remember about the circumstances that lead up to the accident and call the police as soon as you can to file a report about the accident.
  5. Look for witnesses and ask for their contact information 
  6. If anyone else recommends that you use a particular tow truck company or auto repair shop, don’t take their advice. Research and retain your own tow truck and body shop.

If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article about what to do if you get caught in a speed trap.