Car with winter tires driving in snowy conditions

Seasonal Matters

Do you really need Winter Tires?


It’s no secret that getting from point A to point B in the middle of a Nova Scotian winter storm can be tough, to say the least. Snow, ice, slush, rain, we deal with it all. Thankfully, there is one simple yet important action you can take towards a smoother, safer — and even cheaper — winter drive: installing a set of quality winter tires. In this blog we answer a common question, “Do you really need winter tires?”

Why use winter tires?
As the temperature drops, all-season and summer tires can stiffen and start losing their elasticity, which can lead to decreased traction and poor performance. The rubber used in winter tires, on the other hand, is designed to stay flexible even in extremely chilly weather. So you’ll get a better grip on that slippery side street.

Are winter tires good for driving on ice and slush?
Although they’re often referred to as “snow tires,” winter tires are designed with much more than snow in mind. In fact, they perform better any time it’s cold, and they provide noticeably better traction for driving in wet, icy, and slushy conditions. According to the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, modern winter tires offer up to 50% or more traction than all-season tires, which can mean the difference between a close call and a fender bender.

Are winter tires required by law?
In Nova Scotia, like most other provinces, winter tires are recommended but not mandatory. Quebec is the only province that legally requires every passenger vehicle to have winter tires between December 1 and March 15. Some mountainous areas in British Columbia also require winter tires.

Are winter tires worth the money?
A set of winter tires on rims can easily run upwards of $1,000, plus the cost to swap out your tires every fall and spring. While this can be a deterrent to some drivers, there’s no doubt that installing winter tires is well worth the expense. Here are just a few reasons why winter tires are worth it:

  • Winter tires can prevent dangerous collisions. Improved traction and better winter road-handling can help reduce your chances of a collision, which can help keep you and your passengers safe and prevent damage to your vehicle.
  • Winter tires can help keep your insurance record clean. Since winter tires can help you stop more effectively on slippery roads, they can also help prevent rear-end collisions, which tend to be considered the fault of the person who hits the vehicle in front of them. An at-fault collision can result in a higher car insurance premium, so it’s important to take measures that help you avoid at-fault collisions.
  • Switching to winter tires can make your all-season tires last longer. Since installing winter tires means you’ll be giving your all-seasons a break over the winter months, you can count on them lasting longer than they would if you kept them on year-round. So, while you’ll still have to pay to have your tires swapped every fall and spring (unless you can do it yourself), you won’t have to buy an entirely new set of tires as often as you might if you used the same ones all year.

Other than Quebec where winter tires are mandatory, Atlantic Canadians have the highest rate of winter tire use at 91%, well above the national average of 75%. That’s pretty good! Winter tires with the three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol are a great investment – above all helping to keep you safe on the roads during the winter months. Visit our webpage for more information about car insurance or contact a Bauld Advisor today.

– Team Bauld Insurance