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Why You Really Need Snow Tires

Driving Tips
jason-baxtorJason Baxter

All-weather tires are both very convenient, and one of the worst things to ever happen to winter driving safety.  The quick answer to whether you really need snow tires in winter weather conditions is: yes!

Still, we continue to find reasons not to swap our summer tires for dedicated winter tires every year. After all, if you live in a big enough town or city, you don’t really drive in the snow that often because the streets are salted and sanded, right?

But even if you never actually drive in snow or icy conditions, a set of winter tires are safer to drive when temperatures drop to near or below freezing.

4 Reasons Why You Need Snow Tires

Calling them “snow” tires might be part of the reason why many drivers choose all-season tires instead. The first reason as to needing winter tires explains why.

  1. Snow tires are Designed for All Winter Conditions
    Winter tires offer advantages over summer tires in all cold-weather road conditions, even when roads are clear and free of snow and ice.
  2. Winter Tire Tread Patterns Are Key
    While we think of them as “knobby”, winter tires are actually a combination of the large knobs and much smaller groves. A thin layer of water forms under your tires as you drive over ice and snow. The thin grooves help to channel away the water to improve grip.
  3. Softer Rubber Compounds – Colder temperatures harden the rubber compounds used for summer and all-weather tires. That makes it more difficult for them to grip the road, even in dry conditions. Winter tire compounds are designed to stay pliable in winter for better grip.
  4. Shorter Stopping Distances – If this one doesn’t convince you that you need winter tires, we’re not sure what will. There are numerous studies that prove winter tires reduce stopping distances significantly in winter conditions.

    One study showed that, when coming to a complete stop from 50 km/h, winter tires shortened braking distances by up to 25% or about two or three car lengths. Think about that when you’re sliding towards a stopped vehicle in front of you.

Winter tires can also help you avoid traffic tickets, including for careless driving, that you may be given for not exercising enough caution to avoid a collision while driving in winter conditions with summer tires.

To find out more about careless driving tickets, check out our article “Dangerous Driving vs. Careless Driving”.

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