With overnight temperatures expected to drop in the Lower Mainland on Saturday (Oct. 22) to 5C, experts say now is the time to put on your winter tires.
Transport Canada states that when temperatures dip below 7°C, even at night, all-season and summer tires start to lose elasticity, which results in reduced traction.
Josh Smythe, an automotive specialist for BCAA, says with what has felt like an extended summer of warmer-than-average fall temperatures, winter tires might be the last thing on some people’s minds. But looking at this weekend’s weather forecast, the weather is changing dramatically. Rain is here and the forecast and night-time temperatures are dropping, so Smythe recommends people shouldn’t wait for snow before putting their winter tires on.
Trace Acres, the program director for Road Safety at Work, said there is a myth that winter tires are only for snowy climates. While they do make a difference when driving in the snow, that is not the only difference they make.
Winter tires “are made of a different rubber compound that works better at colder temperatures,” he said.
While the Lower Mainland does not get a lot of snow, “we definitely get cold temperatures in the winter, and that’s where your winter tires can make a difference,” Acres added.
The Shift Into Winter campaign, which is run by Road Safety at Work, reminds drivers that winter driving conditions include driving in the rain, slush, snow, ice and cold temperatures.
A vehicle equipped with all seasons will need twice the braking distance in winter conditions – including rain, slush, snow, ice and cold temperatures. A vehicle with four winter tires will have better traction on wet, snowy, icy, and cold roads.
According to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, when driving 20 kph on an icy road, winter tires can help you stop 33 per cent sooner.
If you need to purchase winter tires, both Acres and Smythe recommend talking to your local tire expert about which winter tire is right for you and your driving needs (a person only driving in the Lower Mainland throughout the winter would have different needs from someone taking weekly trips up to Whistler or into the Interior).
From Oct. 1- Apr. 30, winter tires- including all-season M+S and the mountain/snowflake tires – are required when driving on most routes in B.C. outside of the South Coast.