Rain, slush, snow, ice and cold temperatures are all part of winter driving. Stopping your passenger vehicle in these conditions can be challenging, as your tires have less traction on cold and often slippery road surfaces.
For example, if you’re driving on a set of all-season tires on a rain-covered road at 80 km/h, you’ll need twice the distance to stop than you would when driving at 50 km/h. Not surprisingly, snow and ice covered roads create even longer stopping distances:
How winter tires help
All-season tires and summer tires are manufactured with a hard rubber compound designed to increase the tread life of the tire. Unfortunately, as the temperatures drop below 7° C, this compound becomes less flexible and these tires lose their ability to provide traction, even on dry roads.
Winter tires with a 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol provide better traction and stopping performance than all-season tires in cold temperatures and on wet, snowy and icy roads.
Tires with the M+S (Mud and Snow) symbol meet the minimum legal requirement for a winter tire in British Columbia. However, in severe winter conditions, they are less effective than the 3-peaked mountain and snowflake tires.
The improved traction offered by winter tires may be the difference between safely driving or stopping on winter roads and being involved in a potentially serious motor-vehicle incident.
During BC’s winter driving season (October 1st – March 31st), most highways require passenger vehicles to have winter tires with either the 3-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol or tires with the mud and snow symbol at a minimum tread depth of 3.5 mm.
Watch the difference in stopping distances: all-season tires vs. winter tires:
Download Your Passenger Vehicle Takes Longer to Stop in Winter Weather (.pdf).