I cannot imagine what I consider to be more important to me than the safety of my family. With that in mind, I was made very aware the other day that the brand of tires I choose to put on my car can have a significant impact on how safe they are when they are in the car with me.
Even more incredible is that while I can make my car safer by having the correct tires on my vehicle, it can help by also alerting people that as the weather warms up, driving around with your winter tires still on your car is dangerous to everyone inside and outside your vehicle?
I’ve never used winter tires, so I was not aware.
Now I know.
Now we all know!
On April 14th, I was invited to attend an information session put on my Michelin Canada to learn about the perils of driving with winter tires on their car in warmer weather, and to see Michelin’s newest tire, the Premier LTX. The session was at the Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke, Ontario, and along with learning about winter tires, I was also educated about benefits of Michelin’s Premier LTX, and taken for a drive in a 2016 Kia Sorrento with these tires, in a variety of conditions. To be more correct, I drove the vehicle with Michelin’s professional drivers who double as professional race car drivers competing all over the world. These guys KNOW how to drive!
Let me begin by stating that I receive quite a lot of offers to experience, try, test and taste new products and while I would happily review and cover them all, my schedule – business and family priorities – do not allow the time for it all. However, once I saw there would be an opportunity to speak with a professional driver about how to be a better driver, and to be honest, since I know very little about cars, I could not pass up this opportunity and I am thankful that I did not.
Upon my arrival, I met with Professional race car driver and Michelin driving expert Carl Nadeau, for a lively discussion with myself and Andrew Clarke, the Globe and Mail auto expert. Nadeau encouraged us to get the word out to all Canadians to remain vigilant while driving this summer and reminds them of the importance of using tires adapted to the season: “As temperatures rise, some drivers don’t give a second thought to the state of their all-season or summer tires. Worse, some even decide to keep their winter tires on. With temperatures steadily above 7°C, winter tires decline in grip and control, requiring a much greater distance to come to a complete stop compared to all-season or summer tires. And the lack of traction and control only gets worse as temperatures rise.”
I certainly did not know that!
I asked the dumb question about the importance of having winter tires on a car because in my… 27 years driving a car, I have never had them. I’m Canadian born and raised and thus learned to drive in the winter. I see ice and laugh at it. Do I really need winter tires?!?
“Yes” was the obvious response.
Then I learned about the tire… I know tires are rubber and have treads… That’s all.
Sylvaine Cuniberti the Marketing Director for Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. Explained the new Michelin tire and how it is different from any other tire available right now. “The revolutionary MICHELIN® Premier™ LTX™ tire features the EverGrip™ tread, which evolves as it wears to prolong safety.” In English (or French) as tires wear, they get bald, or the treads which hold them to the ground wear away and the car slips and slides in cold or wet.
So as the Michelin Premier LTX tires wear, the grooves get wider, so that the tire maintains it’s ability to provide traction and that means there tires stay as safe as they were when first purchased.
Presently available to dealers for order, the MICHELIN® Premier™ LTX™ tire will be introduced to the general public as of June 1st and will initially be available in 30 sizes (from 16 to 22 inches) fitting a range of SUVs/CUVs/light trucks and utility vehicles such as the Ford Escape, Honda CRV, Toyota Rav4, and 2016 Kia Sorento among others. To complete the Premier family expansion, the MICHELIN® Premier™ A/S will also be available in an additional 12 sizes (from 15 to 17 inches).
After the discussion, Mr. Nadeau gave us safety tips which I quickly jotted down while trying to visualize my own driving style and approach to my vehicle.
Michelin Canada encourages drivers to conduct proper safety checks and adhering to a few safe-driving tips.
Check Your Tires: After all, tires are the only part of your car that touch the road.
- Check your tires for wear – Using the “Quarter Test’’, put the 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.
- Check the air pressure – Tires can lose up to 1 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure every month. Use a proper pressure gauge to check pressure when tires are cold (before driving or three hours after driving). Make sure your tires are inflated to the pressure that’s listed on the sticker inside the driver’s door of your car. (My car has an electronic sensor which alerts me as to the amount of tire pressure each tire has compared to what it should have).
Other tips include, sitting straight up while driving – no leaning back – make sure your thumbs are inside the steering wheel for the best control, don’t hold the steering wheel in a death-grip, make sure you are far enough back from the brake pedal so that you can press it with your entire foot without having to extend your toes, or fully extend your leg in case of emergency.
More tips on safe driving, visit http://www.michelin.ca/tires-101/driving-and-safety-tips/driving-tips.page
Then I got to drive… Fast. On tight turns. I got to slam on the brakes with the car travelling over 60km/h and was shocked, yes shocked when the car just stopped. No skidding or screeching, and there was no feeling that the car was still moving as I slammed my foot down. The car just stopped.
It was unreal.
I tried in on curves, in wet conditions, and dry and time after time, the tires taught me a lesson. They taught me that whatever tires I have on my car and not the right tires for my family. They taught me that great tires DO make a difference and they taught me that I need to buy a set of winter tires for my car.
Michelin invited me to educate me, and they did far more than that. They enlightened me, and I will no longer accept sub-par tires for my car, and that my family deserves better.
Thank you Michelin.