Why winter tyres?
Consider fitting winter tyres for the whole winter period. Many people are unaware of the fact that when temperatures drop below 7 °C the rubber in standard tyres becomes harder and less flexible, which affects braking and cornering performance.
Winter tyres perform better due to their combination of more flexible sidewalls, winter tread patterns, deeper tread depth, and perhaps most importantly, tread compounds which remain soft in the lowest winter temperatures.
Know your car, know your brakes
In everyday driving situations, cars with both ABS (antilock brakes) and traditional braking systems are basically identical. In an emergency stopping situation, however, you must use two distinctly different techniques to stop your car.
The beauty of ABS is that pressing the brake pedal as hard as possible and holding it there allows the computer to pump the brakes while still maintaining some steering effectiveness. Remember that ABS can’t perform miracles: if you feel ABS engaging during everyday driving, slow down, because you are exceeding the reasonable speed for the conditions.
Test road conditions frequently
When driving in challenging conditions, determine how much traction, or grip, is available. Make sure that no one is behind you and hit the brakes firmly until the wheels lock up. This will give you a clear indication of the grip available at that particular point in time. Over the course of a long trip, repeat this test to continually monitor grip.
Use grip (traction) efficiently
When roads are slippery, use all of the grip (traction) available for one action at a time. Brake only in a straight line prior to the curve when the car is travelling straight. Taking your foot off of the brake before you steer into the curve allows you to use all of the available grip for steering. Accelerate only when you are able to straighten the steering wheel at the exit of the turn. This technique will allow you to be 100% effective at each manoeuvre- braking, steering and acceleration.
Even with ABS and traction control, winter tyres are recommended
Antilock brakes do not create traction. They keep you from locking up your tyres by taking away braking until the braking force matches the traction level of your tyres on the road surface. If you don’t have the proper tyres for the current conditions, your stopping distance will be lengthened significantly. To maximize your car’s braking efficiency and to shorten your stopping distance, you should use the best tyres for the conditions. In winter, that means a rated snow and ice tyre.
To enjoy your car’s full potential and to accelerate as efficiently as possible, you must have the best possible connection to the road surface. A winter-specific tyre will give you that connection in snow, ice and slush.
Even with an all-wheel drive SUV, winter tyres are recommended
All-wheel drive is a great feature, but its effectiveness can be improved by using the right tyres for the right purpose. Therefore, winter and summer performance is maximized by making the proper tyre choice. Remember that the difference in traction between all-season and severe winter rated tyres is 25-50 %-- that’s the performance advantage that you can add to your all-wheel drive vehicle in winter conditions.
Put together the most complete emergency kit possible
Use a solid container for your kit (a heavy bag or case). Some things to include: road flares, wool blankets, jumper cables, snacks, small cook stove, soup packets, cook pots and eating utensils, thick socks, hat, mittens, medications, tyre chains, snow shovel, candle, lighter and matches, flashlight and radio with good batteries, something to read during long waits. Don't forget medicines and essential personal supplies.
Low speed can be as dangerous as higher speed
Too little speed can be just as dangerous as too much speed in winter conditions. If you can not make it up a hill or keep up with traffic, you irritate other drivers and cause them to take unnecessary chances to get around you. If you slide through traffic lights, you are a risk to yourself and others. Remember, summer tyres or worn tyres have no place on ice or snow covered roads.
Adequate tread depth
Make sure your tyres have adequate tread depth to keep you safe and legal.
Check your tyres at least once a month
Ensure your tyres are properly inflated and checked at least once a month and before any long journeys.