Slip Sliding Along

It’s amazing how we come up with answers when we don’t have any data to support them. I suppose it’s a human condition to want an answer, and so many things appear reasonable when viewed from an incomplete perspective. It makes for an interesting argument over a point that ends up as a bet, but it’s no way to run your business or the road.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at these Low Rolling Resistance (LRR) tires from a winter perspective. The obvious conclusions are around the reduced friction having an effect on the stopping power of your vehicle. That seems to be a no-brainer, right?

Well don’t start placing your bets just yet! With some jurisdictions now requiring their use, and more sure to follow, Transport Canada noticed that there was no definitive studies on winter road traction and the LRR tires. To address that they had the National Research Council test the effectiveness of LRR tires under packed snow winter conditions.

The whole test looked at three areas of importance for operators.

  • Rolling resistance
  • Durability, and;
  • Snow traction

Testing occurred both in the laboratory and in the field at the General Motors Cold Weather Development Centre in Kapuskasing, Ontario. The results are very significant.

  1. Tires that are marketed as LRR on average have about 29% less rolling resistance than standard tires. That means the design and materials requires less energy to deform the tire into your contact patch with the pavement, which translates into fuel savings.
  2. When tested for durability there was no indication that LRR tires will fail earlier or give operational problems
  3. The level of snow traction of LRR tires was comparable to standard tires. High traction tires of course perform at a higher level.

The fact that we can access this sort of good information is important to making informed decisions about our equipment, and how we operate. I understand the importance of a good, spirited discussion, but when we hit the road lets do so like the professionals we are, and make it a superior job, every time.

If you have any questions about this or any safety related topic you can always contact a safety advisor at or check our web resources at

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Earl has more than 20 years of road experience. He started with long haul and later swapped the transportation of packages for people. Working as a professional bus driver driving intercity and charter buses, his favourite destination was Reno, NV. Moving into the position of driver instructor was a natural progression that he enjoyed for the challenges it provided.

Earl has a Diploma of Technology in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) from the BC Institute of Technology and is a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP). He is responsible for providing OHS advisory services to companies, developing the SafetyDriven OHS programs and curriculum, as well as research regarding health and safety in the trucking industry.

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