An increase in winter tire use would make all of us safer on the roads. A Canadian study found that universal winter tire usage was responsible for a 5-percent decline in winter road-accident injuries in that country. The study also showed a 3-percent drop in deaths and serious road accident injuries. Much of the northern U.S has similar winter weather where the same gains in driving safety could be realized. In fact, wide spread usage of winter tires in the northern U.S. would have an even greater impact because when it comes to winter tire use, the U.S. lags far behind Canada and other countries.
Low Winter Tire Usage in the U.S.
According to the Rubber Association of America (RMA), only 16% of drivers in the northern states use winter tires. In Germany, 40% of all vehicles are on winter tires. In Switzerland and Austria, over half the vehicles are equipped with winter tires. A new survey commissioned by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC), shows that even outside of Quebec, where winter tire usage is the law, 61 per cent of Canadian drivers now use winter tires. This represents a steep increase over the last 5 years. In the U.S., however, the percentage has remained flat. So, why is winter tire use so much higher, and growing in other countries with similar winter weather to what we have in the northern states? The answer is mainly related to the lack of awareness among Americans about the benefits of winter tires.
Lack of Awareness About Benefits of Winter Tires
Rising winter tire usage in other countries is the result of two factors. Firstly, there are the technical advances that have improved traction performance across all tire categories, but especially for winter tires. The softer tread compounds in today’s winter tires retain their flexibility even in extreme cold. At temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, winter tires provide significantly better traction. The result is much greater control and shorter stopping distances on cold roads. There has also been advances in computer modeling of tread designs which allows for more information for designers during product development. Tire engineers and designers can now model what would happen if they change the angle of the tread grooves or the amount of tread sipes without ever building and testing an actual tire. This modeling means new winter tires can be introduced more cost effectively, more frequently and with greater performance improvements from one generation of product to the next. Each new version of a particular winter tire will have big gains in traction and grip.
The second factor is the amount of communication about these advancements made by tire manufacturers, tire retailers and government agencies alike. In the U.S., tire advertising is oriented more to all-season tires, and there are fewer public service programs that promote the benefits of winter tire use. The result is a gap in knowledge about how much winter tires outperform all-season tires. In other countries, there has been far more advertising about winter tires, and discussion in the media about the benefits of winter tire use. In the northern states where drivers can benefit most from winter tires, people will opt to buy winter tires if presented and aware of all the facts. The problem is, the benefits are often not clearly understood, or even communicated to american tire buyers.
More Brands and Styles of Winter Tires Than Ever Before
If you are ready to drive safer this winter, and are in the market for new tires, head to Tires-easy.com. Tires-easy.com currently has over 75 winter tire styles for cars or mini-vans, and 50 styles of winter tires for SUVs, CUVs, pickup trucks and commercial vans. They have all the leading tire brands and styles available for shipment anywhere in the Continental U.S.A. The brands and styles of winter tires on tires-easy.com include the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 (available with studs or without studs) , Cooper Weather-Master WSC tire, Bridgestone Blizzak WS-80 tire, Firestone Winterforce tire, the Vredestein WinTrac Xtreme-S tire, the low priced Antares Grip 20 tire, and dozens of others at price levels to fit any budget.