The Winter Tire Advantage

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Carol Hochu is President & CEO of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada. You can reach her at [email protected]. Photo TRAC

Traction and stopping ability far outweigh cost considerations during the cold months.

We’re now well into autumn and soon our collective thoughts will be turning to winter, and with winter comes the seasonal tire changeover.

Even with the challenges faced by Canadians and the economy—inflationary pressures, rising gasoline prices, and softening growth (all of which could put a damper on the purchase of new winter tires), winter tires still provide drivers with road safety advantages that go well beyond cost consideration, and represent a key road safety element not just for the drivers who choose winter tires, but for all traffic participants.

Safety and performance

The key benefits of winter tires are safety and performance. Stopping and traction are all that matter when it comes to safe winter driving. Dedicated winter tires are manufactured with more flexible rubber compounds for superior traction even at extremely cold temperatures. Coupled with sophisticated tread designs, winter tires allow for greater control and braking capability on cold, dry, snow-covered, icy, or slushy roads, and are the right choice for the Canadian winter. 

According to a study from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF)

  • “at temperatures just below freezing, stopping distances for vehicles with winter tires are as much as 30% shorter than for vehicles with all-season tires (marked M+S/Mud and Snow tires), and
  • winter tires deliver better traction on an ice or snow-covered road surface at -30°C vs. all-season tires at 4°C.”

Canadians also have more winter tire choices than most drivers around the world. With our vast Canadian landscape, winter driving means different things in the snowy Atlantic, cold urban roads of Quebec and Ontario, frigid and windy prairies, and B.C.’s warmer Lower Mainland and unpredictable mountain roads. That’s why Canadians are offered a wide range of tire products for winter driving.

Marketing strategies

For retailers, a helpful blog post discusses strategies for marketing winter tires including providing a hands-on experience, educating consumers, and understanding individual buyers’ specific needs and preferences. 

In summary, the benefits of winter tires are many including:

  • Improved traction on all winter conditions including cold, icy, snow-covered, and slushy roads
  • Increased feeling of safety and security not only for self but for others on the road
  • Reduced insurance premiums (dependent on individual provinces and insurance providers, so check with your insurance company)
  • Reduced risk of accidents and all associated costs such as prevention of collisions, injuries and fatalities leading to a reduction in health and hospital emergency costs, and a reduction in the number of first responders during winter.

In the immortal words of Sergeant Phil Esterhaus of Hill Street Blues fame, “Let’s be careful out there” this coming winter.



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