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Do Winter Tires Actually Help Reduce Accidents?

This is the season for cooler temperatures in the Greater Vancouver area and with the colder weather and increased rainfall comes the question of whether or not to install winter tires on your car this season.

Although they are an added expense, winter tires are often touted as a safety precaution during the winter months to help decrease vehicular accidents. Still, as a car owner, you may be wondering, just how helpful are winter tires in reducing the rate of accidents?

In a post from Wheels.ca, studies from Quebec and Germany (where winter tires are mandatory) proved that there were fewer accidents due to cars being outfitted with winter tires. In 2008, Germany made it mandatory for cars to have winter tires which dropped the rate of personal-injury collisions by nearly 50% compared to 2005. Just how many personal-injury collisions did it help prevent? In 2005, Germany recorded 12,539 collisions with personal injuries. In 2008, that number dropped to 6,506. Quebec also made winter tires mandatory in 2008 which helped record a 5% decrease in personal injury collisions.

Although winter tires are not mandatory in Vancouver, Burnaby, or other areas in the Lower Mainland, they are required on certain highways in British Columbia during select months of the year.

snow tires

What Makes Winter Tires Adaptable to Snowy Conditions?

Winter Tires use a better rubber compound that helps them become more flexible to road conditions like snow and ice. They have better grip thanks to a wider tread pattern that helps displace snow, slush, and even water from melting snow. This helps reduce the amount of time and distance needed to come to a complete stop.

Overall, winter tires have more flexibility and unique traits like tread blocks covered with small slits called sipes that provide better water displacement and grip ice better than other tires.

For more helpful information on when and where to use winter tires in B.C., check out the FAQ section from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

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