OTTAWA, Nov. 8, 2012 /CNW/ - Using winter tires during the winter months
can increase the likelihood of avoiding a costly collision according to
a report published by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF).
The challenge researchers discovered was getting drivers to use winter
tires. The report entitled, Winter Tires: A Review of Research on Effectiveness and Use,looks at existing Canadian and international research on the efficacy of
winter tires and their potential effects. The study, sponsored by the
Winter Driving Safety Coalition, also explored the public's perceptions
and use of winter tires.
"Available information from experimental studies and demonstration
projects provide indications that, in winter driving conditions, winter
tires outperform all-season tires and summer tires in terms of
traction, cornering and braking," notes Dr. Ward Vanlaar, TIRF's Vice
President of Research "In particular, braking comparisons across
tire-types reveal that differences in stopping distances could be
sufficiently significant to avoid a collision or reduce the severity of
While the review of the research on winter tires was promising, the
advantages of using winter tires are not understood by many drivers.
The study reviewed a number of public opinion polls and among
non-winter tire users the extra cost of buying winter tires was a key
factor for their decision. This was followed by the belief that
all-season and summer tires were sufficient for winter driving in their
region, and that their vehicle's safety features negated the need for
winter tires. Researchers say that this is not the case.
"Studies show that the more resilient compound of winter tires is
beneficial when the air temperature is +7 degrees Celsius or lower,
regardless of whether the roads are dry, wet, snow-covered or icy.
While most jurisdictions may receive variable amounts of snow, a
majority of Canadians experience temperatures of at least -10 degrees
Celsius or colder" explains Dr. Vanlaar. "Even in moderate temperatures
above 0 degrees winter tires improve your car's traction, cornering and
braking ability. Also, anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and electronic
stability control (ESC) require sufficient traction to be effective and
winter tires can provide that needed traction."
Even though it appears that the public places a greater value on the
short-term savings of not purchasing a set of winter tires, some
research suggests that using winter tires is, in the long-term, less
expensive than using all-season tires as winter tires provide better
fuel economy and increase the likelihood of avoiding a costly
"Research showed that using winter tires in the winter and summer tires
in the summer reduced fuel consumption by up to 5%," clarifies Vanlaar.
"Not to mention that the cost of an insurance deductible in most cases
is likely more than the cost of winter tires."
To help address this and other myths and misconceptions outlined in the
study, researchers recommend the development and distribution of
educational materials that incorporate winter tires into a vehicle
owner's overall vehicle winter preparedness plan.
"The proper use of winter tires is only one aspect of safe winter
driving," explains Coalition member Glenn Maidment of the Rubber
Association of Canada. "Defensive driving techniques and overall
vehicle maintenance and preparedness are equally as important. However,
when one link is compromised, the chain as a whole is weakened. That's
why we feel that winter tires should play a more important role in safe
Researchers also recommend additional research on the impact of usage of
winter tires on overall crash rates and its impact on the seriousness
of crashes. By providing a more comprehensive, up-to-date and complete
picture of the state of winter tire use in Canada, researchers can
further inform sound decision-making.
Download a copy of the report, Winter Tires: A Review of Research on Effectiveness and Use via http://bit.ly/PX7nqs.
About TIRF. Established in 1964, TIRF's mission is to reduce traffic-related
deaths and injuries. As a national, independent, charitable road safety
research institute, TIRF designs, promotes, and implements effective
programs and policies, based on sound research. TIRF is a registered
charity and depends on grants, awards, and donations to provide
services for the public. Visit us online at www.tirf.ca.
About the Winter Driving Safety Coalition. The Winter Driving Safety Coalition (the Coalition) was created in 2010
to help coordinate safety activity and messaging around winter. The
Coalition, individually and collectively, raises public awareness
through coordinated road safety messages and activities, supports
research that furthers our understanding of road safety issues and best
practices as well as incentives that encourage drivers to invest in the
safety of their vehicles. The Coalition is made up of respected private
and non-profit sector safety organizations including the Rubber
Association of Canada, the Ontario Safety League, the Ontario Hospital
Association, Canadian Tire, and the Canadian Automobile Association
(South Central Ontario).
SOURCE: TRAFFIC INJURY RESEARCH FOUNDATION (TIRF)