The tire advice that could save your life
Published Tuesday, December 6, 2011 4:02PM PST
All-season tires took a full 15 more feet to stop on ice versus all-weather tires, Steele on Your Side learned during winter driving tests.
Lynda Steele got behind the wheel of a Ford Focus with a professional driver to put tires to the test in simulated winter driving conditions, speeding down the ice rink at the UBC Thunderbird Winter Sports Centre to find out which tires provide the best control.
With pro driver Jeff McKague giving instructions, Lynda circles the ice speeding up and then slamming on the brakes to test the tires stopping ability.
She is able to stop within 35 feet with the all-weather tires. But the same car outfitted with the all-season tires takes close to 50 feet – a difference of 15 feet.
The all-weather tire is a good choice for motorists who want enhanced safety in the winter but don't want to invest in a dedicated set of winter tires.
"[It will] perform 20 per cent better on ice in our third-party tests, versus an all-season tire. And approximately 10 per cent better in snow," said driving expert Melissa Arbour.
Many drivers don't realize that winter tires should be used when the temperature falls below seven degrees Celsius. All-season tires harden up like a puck on ice. But nearly 60 per cent of Canadians don't bother with winter tires -- especially B.C. residents -- so the all-weather tire is a great alternative.
"If you're on snow for an example, the all-season tire isn't going to discard the snow as easy as the all-weather tire's going to," McKague said.
The all-weather tire also has larger sipes, the small slots that are cut or molded into a tire tread surface, that are designed to throw the snow that much easier.
RCMP say tires have to have the mountain snowflake emblem on them to be considered true winter tires. And winter tires or chains are required by law if you're travelling in areas like Whistler or the Interior.
Police also recommend you do the penny test to see if your tires have enough tread depth. Hold the penny upside down and insert it into the tread of the front and rear tires. If the queen's head is fully visible the tire doesn't have enough tread.
Watch CTV News for a full report from Lynda Steele. And stay tuned Wednesday for how to save big bucks on winter tires by heading south of the border...