Having snow hit later in the winter is heartache for those who love outdoor winter sports. But that pattern also appears to be taking a toll on the streets.
Yet again, as a so-called winter storm bore down on the region Thursday, the reports of collisions and fender benders picked up pace. It would be tempting to add “as usual” to the preceding sentence. But just what is surprising about wintry highway conditions landing in Nova Scotia by the end of December?
People should be prepared long before this point – both in having their vehicles ready and in altering their driving habits according to the weather.
It’s been interesting, but never before have we been offered so much information about winter tires. Articles and radio programs have featured experts discussing the properties of the rubber in winter tires versus all-seasons – and it sure helps to have the relative merits of the two in perspective.
The more aggressive tread of a winter tire – to help a vehicle get through deeper snow – is quite noticeable. But not so apparent – and again, information compliments of the auto experts – is that the rubber for winter tires is softer and helps provide some grip in slippery or slushy conditions.
They’ll also recommend that motorists get their tires changed over as the weather turns colder, that the winter tire will grip better on cold pavement – whereas the harder summer tire would have more tendency to slip on that cold surface even minus the precipitation. So what they’re saying is don’t wait until the snow piles up to make the switch.
But vehicle preparation doesn’t entirely account for any rash of collisions when the snow falls. And we can hardly say we were surprised by Thursday’s weather – it was in the forecast, a system coming at us from a couple of provinces away.
That’s where drivers have to realize that, as essential as the right tires are, slippery conditions mean slowing down, starting out for destinations earlier and not taking risks.