We are in central British Columbia, it snows a bit and is below freezing for several months every winter so we have to prepare our cars to drive on snow and ice. Our law requires us to put on winter tires October 1, and have them off by April 1. Most of us have two sets of tires on rims so it's just a matter of taking one set off and replacing them with the other set. How are winter tires different? The use a softer tread compound and a more aggressive tread pattern than all-season tires and offer the option of adding studs for even better traction. I use studded winter tires on my minivan because it's only a two-wheel drive and not as secure feeling as an all-wheel drive. Our highway maintenance is very good plowing most of the snow off the roads and spreading a combination of sand and some form of de-icing salt. Despite this some snow is packed down into ice on all roads so we are driving on ice for several months. It sounds hazardous but winter tires and prudent driving habits means we make it safely through the winter.