Stay Safe, Friends: Winter Driving Tips from Michelin Canada

You know how some memories from your childhood just stick with you? I was 11 years old, in grade five. We had just returned from Christmas break and a fellow classmate, Tommy something-or-the-other, was recounting a horrifying ordeal while vacationing in Florida.

“It SNOWED!” he said in disbelief. “And there were accidents EVERYWHERE because my dad said that no one in Florida knows how to drive in the snow! We were stuck on the Interstate for SIX hours!”

At the time, I recall being quite pleased – I loathed Tommy and was secretly happy that his vacation was at least partially ruined by Mother Nature. Of course, at 11 years old, I couldn’t process that the numerous accidents could have resulted in injuries, extra costs in time and insurance, or both. But one thing did stick with me, even after more than two decades: If you don’t know how to drive in winter road conditions, you’re in trouble.

Today, I’m pleased to share some winter driving tips from Michelin driving expert, Carl Nadeau, to help you stay safe on roads this season. 

Using Electronic Stability Control. Many cars have an electronic control system that helps improve traction and control. The quality of your tires is the foundation of this system since it works by analyzing the state of each tire’s traction with the road. TURN OFF your electronic stability system if your wheels are spinning while climbing a hill or if you’re trying to rock your car out of the snow.

Can I Still Use Last Year’s Winter Tires? If the tread is still good, then yes. Tread depth should be no less than 1.6 mm (2/32”), so one way to test your tread depth is the “Quarter Test.” To do this, place a quarter head-first into your tread. The top part of the figurehead should be partially covered by the tread. If you can see the whole head, it’s time to replace the tire. You tire technician can confirm your findings, and adjust the air pressure and rotate your winter tires from last year’s position.

What to Do Before You Buy. Ask your tire specialist about longevity; your winter tires should give you good traction for at least three seasons. And, of course, make sure the tires you’re buying are actually designed for your vehicle! (Find out here.)

Think You Don’t Need Winter Tires? Yeah you do. Here’s why. And here are some of your questions, answered. But the simple truth is that winter tires are also made from compounds (like the ones found in Michelin X-Ice Xi3 and Michelin Latitude X-Ice Xi2 tires) that are designed to remain flexible in extremely cold temperatures. This provides better traction in winter conditions when compared to all-season tires.

Focus and Calmness. Staying calm and focused can make all the difference on the road. Here’s what to do if you find yourself in a stressful situation.

This winter, I want all my readers to stay safe! Visit for more winter driving tips, and remember, it’s a proven fact that driving with four winter tires reduces your risk of collision.

This post is sponsored by Michelin Canada as part of the #EmbracetheRoad campaign. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.