5 simple facts about winter tires, and why you should add them to your ride

Winter tires will make your ride safer if you’re driving in winter. You should probably install a set, because they’re a good idea. But, like thousands of Canadians, you may be on the fence about installing winter rubber on your ride.

If that’s the case, consider the following facts, which explain the benefits of winter tires as used on your car, truck or SUV.

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1) Your AWD Wants Winter Tires: You’ve invested in Quattro, Symmetrical AWD, xDrive, or some other top-notch AWD system, which reacts with millisecond precision to low-traction situations to keep your ride in control and on course. Why not maximize your AWD system’s performance with a set of winter tires? Your AWD system wants winter tires, because they give it more grip to work with, and allow it to more effectively extract maximum traction from any surface.

2) Cold Weather Makes your All-Season Tires Suck: All-season or summer performance tires get really, really hard when temperatures drop, and hard tires don’t grip well. These are facts, backed by science. Here’s another one: in cold weather, even on dry roads, the softer, more flexible rubber used in winter tires offers up notably more traction. Translation? Even on dry roads and in good weather, winter tires work better in the winter, and may prevent you from having a speed-date with a piece of highway infrastructure.

3) Your Safety Systems All Work Better With Winter Tires: Highly advanced stability control systems, braking control systems, and traction-control systems are proliferating the marketplace. Thing is, none of these systems actually creates traction: they only work to maximize the use of traction available to them. Provide these systems with more physical traction, and they’ll work more effectively at keeping you and yours safe. The only way to increase that physical grip, in winter driving, is by running winter tires.

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4) Thirty Feet: In most driving situations, thirty feet isn’t a major distance. It’s about as long as a pair of Ford Focuses, or the distance across a small intersection. But, when you’ve got to stop for a red light at a busy intersection covered in snow and ice, that thirty feet becomes a very big deal. Thankfully, a decent set of winter tires can slash 30 feet or more from your stopping distance, possibly making the difference between avoiding and causing an accident.

5) Winter Tires Make you a Better Driver: Install winter tires on your ride, and you’ll be a more confident driver in lousy weather. This means you’ll be more relaxed at the wheel, make better decisions more quickly, and operate your vehicles controls more smoothly and carefully. Commonly, drivers freaked out by winter driving are the ones that cause accidents in winter. Translation: the confidence imparted by winter tire use is a safety benefit on its own.