4 safe driving recommendations

With the leaves starting to fall, the period for installing your winter tires is nearly at our doorstep. If this is the year you need to buy new tires, best start planning now!
We all know people who swear by a specific make and model, and will tell everyone how much better “their” tires are... Yet in reality, there are a number of factors to consider. For example, the huge Sorel winter boots that are great for snowmobiling may not be the thing to put on when you head out to a posh evening!
The same is true for winter tires. You need to choose the tires that best meet your needs, are suitable for your vehicle and will not necessarily cost you an arm and a leg. And this regardless of the know-it-alls who try to tell you otherwise.
1. Reach out to a professional. A professional retailer will ask you relevant questions to help you find the tires best suited to your needs. And while it may be tempting to save a few dollars by purchasing tires from an online wholesaler, unless you’re highly knowledgeable, the risk of making a poor choice is far from negligible.

2. Identify your needs. Do you do most of your driving in the city? If so, snow and ice tires may do a slightly better job of helping you stop at icy intersections. Do you drive on poorly cleared secondary roads? Snow tires will offer better traction in these conditions. You might also want to consider studded tires, but these, while very effective, also come with certain disadvantages*.

3. Check the age and wear of the tires. If shopping for used tires, check the grooves; if they are less than 5 mm deep (6/32”), you will not be able to safely travel through snow and slush but instead, slip and slide wherever you go. You should also avoid tires that are over 10 years old (learn how to determine the age of tires) at all times.

4. Make sure all 4 tires are the same! Not having 4 similar tires on a vehicle will have a major impact on road handling, and can even cause serious damage to the drive system if you have an all-wheel drive vehicle.  

Remember: While the law requires you to have winter tires on your vehicles for the period between December 1 and March 15, you can choose to install them sooner or remove them later. Whatever you do, however, never leave winter tires on all year-round!
*Studded tires are prohibited in the majority of indoor parking lots (residential or commercial). They are also forbidden between May 1 and October 15, in most regions of Québec.

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