The leaves changing colour and the chill in the morning air can only mean one thing — winter is coming.

For many people across Canada, getting ready for the cold and snow includes getting winter tires put on their vehicles. But are winter tires really the best way to go? What about all-season tires? Here’s some info to help you choose the right tire for your wintery lifestyle.

All-Season Does Not Mean All-Weather

Let’s clear something up right away: all-season tires aren’t actually meant for all kinds of weather and are typically meant for temperatures that are above seven degrees. That’s why tire manufacturers often sell all-weather tires as well as all-season, as all-weather tires are suited for temperatures below seven degrees and can handle icier conditions.

The basic idea here is that all-season won’t keep you safe in a Canadian winter. They just aren’t built for it.

Winter Tires Are Designed Specifically for Cold, Snow and Ice

There’s a lot of technology and innovation that goes into your tires. From tread patterns to rubber compounds, the industry is constantly looking for ways to improve performance in a variety of road conditions and climates. As a result, winter tires often prove to be the safest option in Canada’s continually changing winter weather patterns. For example, the rubber compounds in most winter tires are so technologically advanced that they stay flexible in temperatures are as low as – 20 to maintain maximum grip.

Winter Tires Are Better for Canada’s Winters

Canada is a winter country, which means temperatures and weather can change in a heartbeat. While all-weather tires may be the way to go in more milder climates, such as on the west coast, they are not the safest option in places where winter can get quite harsh. Their specialized tread pattern is designed to give you more grip on snow and ice, ensuring you are prepared for the worst weather winter can throw at you.

Did you know? In some places in Canada, having winter tires is the law. In 2008, Quebec made winter tires mandatory for all drivers of passenger vehicles. In October 2014, the BC government made winter tires a requirement for travelling on many highways throughout the BC interior (especially through the rockies).