Take it from Nokian Tyres, the inventor of the winter tire: There is nothing safer on wintry roads than a set of dedicated winter tires. But the same qualities that make them effective on snow and ice cause them to be potentially unsafe in consistently warm temperatures.
Once temperatures consistently lie above 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius), it’s important to switch from winter tires to all season tires, which are built to thrive on warmer surfaces. Local regulations may also impact changeover time; for example, Quebec requires that winter tires be installed between December 1 and March 15.
Timing isn’t the only factor drivers should consider; it’s also important to choose the right set of all season tires. When spring arrives in traditionally cold weather areas, roads are often pockmarked with potholes caused by freeze-thaw cycles. Nokian Tyres offers a pair of tires that help protect against potholes and other road hazards, courtesy of puncture resistant Aramid fibers – the same material used in bulletproof vests.
The Nokian Tyres One (for passenger cars) and Nokian Tyres One HT (for light trucks and SUVs) are reinforced with Aramid fibers in their sidewalls. Certain sizes of the Nokian Tyres One HT even have Aramid beneath the tread, too.
Why not use winter tires all year long? Simply put, it’s not the best move for maximum safety in warm conditions. What makes winter tires so good in the cold and so much less effective in heat? First, their soft compounds are built to stay responsive to the road at extremely low temperatures. But when the weather warms, winter tires that soft compound can wear excessively or unevenly. That compromises grip, traction, comfort and ultimately safety.
All season tires like the Nokian Tyres One and Nokian Tyres One HT also stop more quickly on wet roads. The difference in braking distance between a worn-out non-studded winter tire and an all season tire in good condition on a wet road surface is approximately 40 feet from the speed of 50 miles per hour. That is more than two car lengths, and it makes a big difference when you need to stop abruptly to avoid hitting an obstacle on the road. Whereas an all season tire can endure a speed of over 50 miles per hour on a wet road before hydroplaning, a worn out nonstudded winter tire can skid out of control at 37 km/h.
If you want winter protection but want a cold-weather upgrade over all season tires, all weather tires like the Nokian WR G4 are a great choice. All weather tires can be used in all road conditions – rain, snow, heat and slush. They are certified with the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake emblem that signifies they’re suitable for winter roads.