Winter Tires

The truth about winter tires

Are they the best way to prevent accidents during winter weather? We analyzed the data.

Canada is one of the coldest and snowiest countries on the planet, and Alberta is one of Canada’s coldest and snowiest provinces. 

It’s not uncommon to see half a dozen accidents on your way to Edmonton if a fresh snowfall came down the night before. 

Winter tires are specifically engineered to provide increased grip to cold concrete, slush, ice and snow, like we see in all parts of Alberta during the winter season. But can winter tires really help prevent car accidents?

Do winter tires really cut collisions?

Let’s compare the collision rates in Germany. In 2005, there were 12,539 personal-injury collisions. In 2008, after winter tires were made mandatory, there were just 6,033.

If you’d rather compare apples to apples, let’s use the example of Quebec, a province that’s also renowned for its harsh winters:

The province, which already had 96 per cent of drivers using winter tires before they became mandatory in 2008, showed a 5-percent drop in collision injuries that year, while deaths and serious injuries declined by 3 percent.

After the law received royal assent, winter-tire use increased to 98 percent — meaning there was a 5-percent drop in collisions after just a 2-percent increase in winter-tire use. Pretty telling, eh?

What the Alberta law says 

Alberta has no official laws that make it mandatory to use winter tires during the winter. However, Alberta Transportation does recommend that you use them during extreme and severe weather conditions. Brandon Klassen, the Alberta Motor Association’s vice-president of automotive services, say the AMA does highly recommend winter tires as well as having trained professionals change them over.

How to get the most out of your winter tires

Remember the Alberta man whose winter tire came off following its installation at a Calgary-area Costco just five days earlier, last October? Since you likely paid a pretty penny for these tires, it makes sense that you want to ensure you get the most out of your winter tires. Here’s what you can do.

  • Keep your tires inflated as cold weather can lead them to lose air.
  • Inspect them closely. Check for debris frequently to make sure they are still in good condition. 
  • Once the winter season is over, switch back to your regular summer or all-season tires.
  • Proper storage is important in keeping your winter tires in good condition. Never stand them on their tread, avoid keeping them in moist conditions and keep them in fairly neutral locations in terms of temperature. Tire covers are also a good idea.

We hope that this article has helped you not only understand the importance of winter tires but also given you some great tips on how to keep them in great condition.

Assiff Law has been handling winter car accidents for years. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident because the road conditions were bad, call us for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

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