Winter in Ontario is a season of picturesque snowfalls, frosty mornings, and the cozy comfort of a warm fireplace. However, it's also a time when the province experiences some of the most challenging driving conditions including blizzards, icy roads, and bone-chilling temperatures. Thankfully, there’s one simple step you can take towards a smoother, safer, and a more affordable winter drive: installing winter tires on your vehicle.
Why use winter tires?
According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, although all-season tires may be adequate in some areas, they’re not suitable for driving in the snow-belt regions of southern Ontario and throughout the north. The ministry further states that winter tires provide better traction, braking and handling during frost, snow, and slush – and especially under icy conditions.
Winter tires offer a wide range of benefits, including:
- Enhanced Traction: Winter tires are specifically designed to provide better traction on cold, icy, and snowy roads. Their tread patterns and rubber compounds are optimized for grip in low-temperature conditions, reducing the risk of slipping or skidding.
- Improved Handling: Winter tires offer superior control and handling in winter conditions. They respond better to steering inputs, allowing you to navigate icy or snow-covered roads with greater precision.
- Shorter Stopping Distances: Winter tires can significantly reduce your vehicle's stopping distance on slippery surfaces. This can be a lifesaver in emergency braking situations, helping to prevent accidents.
- Helps to Avoid Hydroplaning: Winter tires have grooves that disperse slush and water from the road's surface, reducing the risk of hydroplaning, where your vehicle loses contact with the road due to a thin layer of water.
- Peace of Mind: Equipping your vehicle with winter tires provides peace of mind, knowing that you are better prepared to handle unexpected weather changes. You'll have greater confidence in your vehicle's performance during the winter months.
- Prolongs the Life of All-Season or Summer Tires: Using winter tires during the cold season reduces the wear and tear on your regular, all-season tires. This can extend their lifespan, saving you money in the long run.
- Savings on Insurance: Ayr Farmers Mutual offers a winter tire discount if you install a set of four approved winter tires on your vehicle. Winter tires must be installed from November to April. Ensure you let your Agent or Broker know you have winter tires to be eligible for the discount.
Important things to remember about winter tires:
- Don’t mix and match. Mixing tires with different tread patterns, constructions, or sizes can make your vehicle less stable. You should only install a complete set of four matching winter tires.
- Look for the peaked mountain with snowflake symbol when shopping for winter tires. Tires marked with this symbol meet specific snow traction performance requirements and have been designed specifically for use in severe snow conditions.
- It’s best to install your winter tires before the temperature dips below 7°C. In Southern Ontario, that’s typically some time from late October to mid-November.
- Although winter tires are proven to make for a safer drive, it’s still important to drive with extra caution in the winter. Always leave a little extra space between your car and the one in front of you and look far ahead as you drive so you have enough time to respond to oncoming hazards.
- Don’t let your tread depth get too low. The deeper your tread depth, the better traction you’ll have. Keep an eye on your tread wear indicators and replace your tires before their tread depth reaches the minimum requirement in your province.
- Tire inflation tends to drop with the temperature in cold weather, it’s important to check tire inflation every two weeks. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to find out the recommended tire pressure for your car.
Look for this three-peaked mountain snowflake symbol when purchasing your winter tires.
Winter tires don’t just make winter driving safer and easier, but they can make it cheaper, too. Contact your Ayr Farmers Mutual Agent or Broker to find out if you qualify for a winter tire discount. If you are interested in obtaining a quote on auto insurance, please fill out this form and an Agent will be in touch with you shortly.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended as professional insurance advice. The coverage, terms, and conditions of each insurance policy are unique and subject to individual circumstances. The information provided does not guarantee the availability or suitability of any insurance policy for your specific needs. You should not rely on the information in the blog as an alternative to professional advice from your Insurance Broker or Insurance Company. If you have any specific questions about any insurance matter, please consult a Licensed Insurance Agent or Insurance Broker for personalized advice and guidance.