Surprisingly, many drivers decide not to use winter tires. More often than not, cost is a factor, not to mention where you'll store another set of tires for several months of the year and the inconvenience of having your tires changed.
But winter tires offer a number of benefits to drivers, especially in areas where the temperature drops below freezing. Chances are, you're no stranger to battling winter weather conditions. So we put together a list of the top 7 reasons why we recommend you get winter tires.
This might be the most common argument for winter tires. Their tread is designed differently than summer and all-season tires in order to move water and moisture away from the central point of contact.
Winter tires use a technique called "siping," which is a number of small slits across the tire's rubber, which increases its ability to hold traction against a surface. As tires flex and change shape, they're able to grip the road more efficiently than any other tire type.
Believe it or not, the most important factor concerning a tire's traction isn't its tread, but the rubber compound from which it's made. Summer and all-season tires have a rubber compound that hardens as temperatures drop.
Winter tires are able to retain their "soft" and "flexible" nature even when temps are well below freezing. This allows the tire to conform to the texture of roads, snow, and even ice, which increases overall traction.
According to multiple studies, stopping distance can decrease by nearly 37% when you use snow tires. As many people can attest, starting to move from a stopped position is difficult in the winter, but stopping when you lose traction is nearly impossible.
Proper winter tires have shown positive results for stopping distance when put head-to-head against summer and all-season tires.
In the event of an accident, speed, stopping distance, and impact force are directly related. Reducing the stopping distance might not only prevent a potential accident, but it could be the difference between life and death after a collision.
Winter tires aren't just for helping you drive through the snow. They perform better than summer and all-season tires in every winter weather condition. Low temperatures can drastically decrease the performance of your regular-weather tires.
Winter tires help with acceleration, handling, and braking whether there's snow on the road or not. In fact, through much of the winter, your tires will be making contact with cold, potentially frozen concrete. Your winter tires can offer you a number of benefits beyond driving in the snow.
Using snow tires allows for the opportunity to downsize the tire you use. Many cars, especially new ones, are being sold with wider tires with lower profiles. While stylish and great for handling in the summer, these can be difficult tires to drive with in the winter.
If you switch to a dedicated snow tire with a thinner width, you'll essentially make your car drive through the snow, rather than on top of it. You'll be forcing less of your tire to go through the snow, which helps to keep it from losing traction.
If you grew up driving in winter weather conditions, then you're already constantly aware of the dangers that black ice presents. However, with the right winter tires, when you begin to slide on black ice, you have a better chance of regaining traction with dedicated snow tires.
The grooves of the tread – as well as the softer rubber – allow for the tire to grip any imperfections in the ice to eventually find traction. If you hit black ice, take your foot off the gas and resist the urge to slam on the brakes. Gently coast, maintaining a light touch with the steering wheel, until your tires regain traction.
Many people cite the cost of four new winter tires as the main reason why they stick with their regular tires year-round. However, changing your tires for several months throughout the year will actually increase the life of either set.
Rather than running the same tires throughout the year, swapping them out for a dedicated winter set will extend their life by years. Rather than replacing your tires every 3 years, for instance, you can replace them every 6 – or whenever they're worn down.
We know winter weather conditions threaten millions throughout the country every year. That's why it's important to take the necessary precautions during these chilly months. Even with winter tires, the weather can be dangerous and potentially harmful.