Snow tires used to be just that, tires only used for driving in snow. Unable to survive for long in regular driving conditions (emergency braking and warmer temperatures would devastate the tread), snow tires were reduced to a singular purpose. But things are different now as technology has improved, and drivers’ needs have changed, making the switch to winter tires essential to maintaining driving safety.
With more than 1,300 people killed and 116,000 people injured from vehicle crashes in snow or ice, most drivers should consider investing in quality snow tires. Even if you don’t live in a snowy region, 70% of the nation’s highways are located in snow-prone zones, meaning at some point you will likely come across hazardous conditions. Wouldn’t you rather drive with confidence knowing your tires aren’t at the mercy of the weather?
Losing Flexibility Means Losing Grip
Snow tires are formulated with tread rubber that retains flexibility in the cold, which is difficult considering the cold’s natural ability to suppress and shrink. Increased traction is accomplished with innovative tread compounds, deeper tread depths, and additional sipes—all three work together to direct water, slush, and any form of water away from under the tire.
And don’t be fooled by the term all-season tires either—they can’t adjust as well to cold temperatures, i.e. anything below 44 degrees, and subsequently, lose traction due to stiffening. This means cold, snowless roads pose a serious risk to drivers without snow tires as well, as the harder tire substance results in less tire in contact with the road, and no “bite” on the cold or frozen surfaces.
The Case For 4 Tires And Not 2
The facts are, that having all 4 tires with the same traction level will increase your stability and safety on winter roads. It doesn’t matter if your vehicle is front or rear-wheel drive, snow tires are most effective on all four of your wheels. 7 out of 10 tire manufacturers agree—using two dissimilar types of wheels on your vehicle will give off the effect of a split personality, one set won’t perform while the other will, and vice versa.
Mounting to the front positions only puts you at risk for compromised rear tire traction. You will be able to start and steer fine, however you run the risk of a possible rear-wheel skid since the front has traction while the rear does not have that same level of traction.
Mounting to the rear positions only (even on a rear-wheel drive) puts your steering capabilities at risk since the front wheels are mainly responsible for determining direction. Even with rear-wheel traction, you’ll have a hard time trying to control your vehicle and stopping distances will be greatly reduced.
Brave The Sticker Shock
It’s true. Snow tires and a spare set of wheels can be expensive and storing a spare set of tires and wheels is a bit of a hassle. While the severity of winter can vary depending on where you live, you can’t put a price on safety. If you live in an area that has regular freezing temperatures or regular snowfall, it is well worth the cost to invest in winter tires. Changing your tires allows you to drive with confidence no matter what Mother Nature throws at you!
If you need any assistance with finding the right winter tires for your vehicle, our Customer Service people are happy to assist you. With our fast, free shipping, and easy 45 days return policy you are able to get your winter tires installed quickly and be safe out on the roads.