Ontario drivers should start thinking about their seasonal tire change.
As we get further into fall and temperatures begin to drop below seven degrees Celsius, motorists should definitely begin thinking about changing to winter tires. In southwestern Ontario, this change in weather typically happens around mid- to late-October.
Insurance companies incentivize clients to put on winter tires by offering a discount on their auto insurance for using them. In Ontario, regulations passed in 2016 require auto insurers to give discounts for winter tires, though the exact discount and criteria vary among insurers. One example is a company which requires clients to use their winter tires from November to May.
Some motorists may confuse M+S, or all-season tires, with proper winter tires, but it is important to note the distinction between mud and snow tires and those with the snowflake symbol. To qualify for a discount with certain companies, the client must have winter tires with the snowflake symbol. Mud and snow (M+S) tires don’t qualify.
According to Transport Canada, tires marked M+S are not the same thing as winter tires. Proper winter tires have a pictograph of a peaked mountain with a snowflake. Those are designed for use in severe snow conditions.
On the other hand, mud and snow tires may not always be suitable for severe snow conditions, says Transport Canada.
Winter tires are created for driving in sub-zero degree weather and are rigorously tested for traction in snow and ice. Mud and snow tires are best suited for temperatures that are over seven degrees Celsius.
It is also important to adjust driving to the road and weather conditions. Winter tires are not a licence to drive aggressively in the winter. People who have winter tires may feel that they can drive a bit faster or have a little bit of a shorter braking time, but, in reality, the winter tires are designed to help you grip the conditions.