During the winter months, it is very important to be more cautious on the road as they get slippery and visibility gets difficult while it snows. Now you’ve probably heard many ways to keep yourself and others safer on the road this winter season, but did you check to make sure they were all true? We’ve debunked a few common winter driving myths to keep you safe out on the roads this season.
- AWD is just as good as winter tires – This is one of the most commonly believed untruths surrounding winter tires. While it’s true that an all-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive transmission will help accelerate your vehicle, it does not improve braking or steering. Winter tires are made specially with a softer rubber so that they can grip to the ground in colder conditions, as they are specifically designed to help with better traction in ice and snow.
- Winter tires are only for snow – This is why we avoid calling them “snow tires”. They are not only made for snow, and as mentioned above, all season tires just wouldn’t cut it, as they are made with a harder rubber for warmer conditions.
- All seasons are good enough – All-season tires might be suitable for “all the seasons” in some other countries, but not Canada. Slightly misleading, we know, but as mentioned above, they’re just not designed for the cold. Like summer tires, the material is made to withstand heat and not extreme cold.
- Under-inflating my tire makes me safer – Some people might be inclined to take a page out of the off-roaders manual and let a little air out of their tires to help win a little extra traction. While not only dangerous to you and other drivers on the road, under-inflation is one of the leading causes of tire failure. If tire pressure is too low, too much of the tire’s surface area touches the road, which increases friction. Increased friction can cause the tires to overheat, which can lead to premature wear, tread separation and blowouts.
- I live in the city so I don’t need winter tires – Just because your local government puts more salt on the city roads than McDonald’s does on their fries doesn’t mean you don’t need proper tires. City roads are unpredictable, as is the weather. During large storms, highways are always first to get cleared, and sometimes it can take a really long time for the city streets to get cleared. It’s good to be prepared. During the winter months, even a little bit of wetness on the road can compromise your safety.
- It’s a waste of money – You know what would be a real waste of money? Getting into an accident that could have been avoided with the proper tires. You can never put a price on safety. Another way to look at it is that having a set of winter tires prolongs the life of your summer or all-seasons—you may have to spend once on the winters, but your other set will last twice as long.
Being informed is the first step to safety. Being proactive about road safety in the winter season not only helps protect you, but anyone in your vehicle and also others on the road.