Winter Tires Help Reduce Accidents in Bad Weather

Car tire in winter snow

Some in the tire industry are fond of saying that owning “all season” tires is the same as owning “no season” tires, especially in Alberta. In truth, what they are trying to say is that a tire that is purported to be able to perform through all kinds of weather and temperature conditions is truly a tire with a lot of compromises built into it. From the composition of the rubber, to the design of the tread blocks, tires built for specific weather conditions, be it hot or cold, perform better than the tire designed to encounter anything.

Keep your Alberta car insurance premiums low by being as proactive as possible. Winter tires are a smart choice for keeping your grip on the roads when they are at their worst.

The Case For Winter Tires

In Alberta, all season tires will perform well in the spring and summer. When it’s cold, winter tires are a near necessity for those who must drive no matter how cold it is or how much snow is on the ground.

As their name suggests, all season tires say they can handle the heated pavement of summer and the frozen asphalt of winter. But they actually work in an optimal temperature range for their best performance. It’s at the lower end of the temperature range where the limits of all season rubber compounds are reached. At a balmy 7 degrees Celsius, the rubber compound of all season tires begins to harden.  The traction of a tire is highly dependent upon its tread blocks remaining flexible enough to grip the road and its imperfections or irregularities. If the rubber compound is too stiff, the grip can become highly compromised. Tests of winter compound tires versus all season compounds show up to 30 percent shorter stopping performance and 50 percent less wheel spin upon acceleration when the winter tires are mounted.

If improved grip and safety, (and thus lower risk and claims made, keeping your insurance premiums low), aren’t enough to sway you towards mounting a set of winter tires, perhaps saving money by spreading your driving wear between eight tires will convince you. A study from Switzerland demonstrates that by mounting winter tires, all season radials took a lot longer to wear out during warmer weather. This finding is another side effect of cold weather making all season radials harden. A harder tire wears more quickly when the wheels slip, which warms the rubber slightly.  Another cost savings you can realize by having a set of winter tires is by mounting them upon expendable steel wheels, sparing your expensive alloy ones from the curbside dings, gravel damage and salt oxidization that occurs during winter driving.

Tires Aren’t Everything

Safe winter driving cannot be assured by having a set of snow tires. You still need to know how to drive in inclement weather, and understand that visibility is reduced and braking time reactions shortened. Even if you have mounted snow tires, are they properly inflated? If you do get stuck, do you have the ability self-rescue, or at least wait in comfort for a tow by having a winter safety kit in your trunk? Even though it’s cold, be diligent about checking your tires’ inflation when you fill up, and be sure to always keep an emergency kit in your vehicle just in case you end up stranded.

Bow Valley Insurance of Calgary Covers Alberta

Review your automobile insurance with your broker before facing winter driving. Many of our clients can qualify for bundling and other discounts, and we can even check your premiums for you. We may be able to find a competing company that will provide comparable coverage for less than you currently pay. For a free car insurance quote for your Alberta coverage, or for other insurance products we broker, contact Bow Valley Insurance of Calgary