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Winter Tires: A Review of Research on Effectiveness and Use

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) has published Winter Tires: A Review of Research on Effectiveness and Use. TIRF was contracted by the Winter Driving Safety Coalition, comprised of the Canadian Automobile Association South Central Office, Ontario Safety League, Rubber Association of Canada, Ontario Hospital Association and Canadian Tire, to review the literature on winter tires and safe winter driving. The objective of this work was to compile and review available information about the effectiveness of winter tires in reducing collisions, and to create a current state of knowledge regarding the efficacy of winter tires and their potential effects on road safety, within the broader context of safe winter driving strategies. North American and international research studies were reviewed and analyzed, along with results from a brief environmental scan to gather available research on this topic.

Results from experimental studies and demonstration projects suggest winter tires outperform all-season tires and summer tires in winter driving conditions. In most of the known experimental studies and demonstration projects performed with different vehicles on various surfaces, winter tires outperformed all-season tires in terms of traction, cornering and braking. Based on available public opinion research about winter tire usage, it appears the public does not fully appreciate the benefits of winter tires, suggesting education may be beneficial. Despite the apparent advantages of using winter tires, most of the research available about this topic is dated and fairly limited. More research is needed to validate the limited experimental findings and gauge real world effects. The question whether this apparent advantage of superior performance of winter tires in winter conditions translates into fewer collisions, injuries and fatalities requires further investigation.

Sponsored by the Winter Driving Safety Coalition

Project Status: Published

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