If you’re like most people in this country, you don’t have winter tires on your car right now. You bought “all-season” tires, and you figured all-season meant spring, summer, fall and winter, and so now you drive on the same set whether it’s plus-thirty or minus-fifteen.
You would probably be surprised to learn that “all season” tires stiffen up considerably at low temperatures, which makes them bad at gripping and good at sliding. That means that on ice your car will travel much further after you hit the brakes than it would have if you were on winter tires. And that can mean the difference between a near miss and a crash.
You would probably also be surprised to learn that, outside Quebec (where they will shortly be required by law), there is no way to rent a car with winter tires. Not in Ontario, not in Alberta, and not even in the snowy mountains of British Columbia. In this report, we ask two race-car drivers to do some test drives and see first-hand the difference tires can make to road safety. And Wendy Mesley asks why the people who market tires still use the phrase “all season.”