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Atlantic Racing Scene

Letter from the Editor

The Wheels of Life

Anew study recently released by the good and sensible people at Tire Rack demonstrates that crash rates in the United States spiked by 829,000 in 2008. That’s a lot of accidents that could have been prevented by simply switching to winter tires.

It’s no joke. All-season tires just don’t make the cut in winter and studies have proven this time and time again. Atlantic region drivers, including those whose livelihoods depend on safe driving, know this to be true, especially with climate change a reality and Maritime weather the unpredictable misfit that it has become in recent years.

With that in mind, here are a few sensible tips to keep in mind about winter tires. First and foremost, they are a worthwhile investment that can last several winter seasons. Your all-seasons will have their life spans preserved for longer too.

In terms of tread-depth, Tire Rack recommends replacing tires when they reach about 6/32” of remaining tread depth to maintain good mobility. Tires with more tread depth offer additional traction to make their way through snow and slush while reducing hydroplaning. Furthermore, insufficient tread-depth doubles your stopping distance.

Another recommendation is to check your tire pressure. For every 10-degree drop in temperatutre, your tires lose about 1 psi of air pressure. Underinflated tires offer less traction, can wear down more easily and compromises durability.

Staying in traction is another important recommendation, because traction loss occurs as ambient temperatures approach freezing, even if snow is absent from the road. Colder temperatures reduce a tire’s flexibility and grip.

Tire Rack also recommends that drivers accelerate, brake and steer as if they had a hot cup of coffee sitting on the dashboard. This reduces loss of control and increases fuel mileage.

Winter driving is all about common sense and this issue is full of that. Auto Atlantic regular Terry Waterfield’s article takes the information on winter tires a step further with a pragmatic approach to driving before the rubber hits the winter road. Not to be outdone, another AA contributor, Dave Giles, goes “behind the pads” to provide an in-depth look at braking. We round out our feature this issue by offering a “winter wheel primer.” Wheels are something many drivers fail to think about, often placing more emphasis on tires instead, so we thought it would be revealing to look at the importance of these as well.

On the flip side of all this of course, is racing, and this issue has lots to report on with Carquest, Targa and drag racing reports, as the season winds down. Another AA regular Ryan Carlson continues his common-sense approach to revitalizing a car wash business and Kenneth Seaton provides an important overview of epilepsy and government regulations that affect driving with the disability. Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that affects up to two percent of the population, and that’s a lot more common than you think. There are a host of myths and misperceptions surrounding epilepsy, and we hope this article dispels at least a few of those.

Lastly, I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association (APTA) to the fold. As the voice of the trucking industry in eastern Canada, the APTA advocates for its members, conducts industry analysis and provides training and knowledge sharing among its members. They do good work, and it’s a pleasure to work in concert with them to promote vehicle awareness in all its forms! Sharing knowledge in and with this sector also just makes good sense as there are overlapping issues that we share in this industry that touch us all.

It’s also a pleasure to be able to encourage you to check out APTA’s upcoming Transportation Summit, happening October 14 and 15 in Moncton. For more information, visit:

As you can see, common sense flows from this issue faster than a BP oil spill. But, I think you’ll agree, we do a lot less damage!

Happy reading and safe driving.

Much, much more in the print addition of Auto Atlantic.
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