Wintertime driving safety depends on your ability to maintain standard vehicle performance (like braking and turning) and control in difficult winter conditions. Unlike any other type of tires, winter/snow tires are created specifically to accomplish that.
Only an estimated 20% of North American drivers use snow tires through the winter months. (When you limit that to the United States, the number is even lower.) Winter tires help you maintain control of your own vehicle in wintry conditions, and also help you maneuver more capably to avoid trouble.
In too many cases, “all-season tires” is a misnomer, and most original equipment (OE) tires – the tires that came with your car when it was new – don’t provide sufficient winter traction, either. For legitimate winter performance, winter/snow tires are the only answer.
It's actually not a ploy to sell more tires – it's because they understand that winter tires provide huge improvements in winter driving control and performance. Even vehicle manufacturers like Audi promote the advantages of winter/snow tires, saying: "When temperatures are below 45 degrees F, vehicle handling and braking can be improved with winter tires specifically engineered to help maximize traction in cold weather."
Most people who have driven in winter conditions can recall driving experiences when they were on a knife's edge – when traction was essentially absent, and every touch of the brake pedal triggered ABS intervention with little to no effectiveness. But it doesn't have to be that way! With winter tires, you can experience true winter driving confidence, and maintain vehicle control even in treacherous road conditions.
Why? Because winter driving with other types of tires is arguably reckless and negligent – the performance disparity between winter tires and other tires is that large. It’s time for us Americans to improve our winter road safety record, and winter/snow tires are fundamental to that process.
Statistics support what you already know as a wintertime driver – driving in adverse winter conditions is dangerous business. According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, 1,300 people are killed and 100,000 injured on snow-, ice-, and slush-covered roads every year. Furthermore, 900 are killed and 76,000 are injured driving during times of winter precipitation (snow and sleet). Winter tires help you fight back against these dangerous road conditions and protect yourself and your family.
Winter tires belong in the same category as three-point seat belts, car seats for kids, airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), and all of the other standard vehicle safety equipment. The performance and safety advantages of winter/snow tires are that significant.
Don't buy it? Consider that the 40 mph to 0 mph braking distance difference between an 80,000 lb. semi-truck and a standard car is about 45 ft. An equal, or even greater braking distance difference exists between winter tires and other types of tires on the same car, from the same speed in adverse winter road conditions.
Because of their effectiveness, anti-lock brakes (ABS) are required by law on all vehicles in the United States and Europe. In testing, the United States National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that vehicles equipped with ABS stopped 22 ft. shorter on wet roads from 60 mph than vehicles without ABS. That's notably less than the braking advantage of winter tires in winter road conditions, when compared to other tires.
Winter tires aren’t just for tire aficionados and car dorks. After you've used winter/snow tires once, you won't think twice about it again. Making the change to winter tires in the fall will become an annual routine that you'll welcome in exchange for the distinct wintertime driving advantages.
For many drivers, the first time using winter tires is truly an “OMG!” moment. We want all your winter driving experiences to be safe and positive. If you’d like help picking out the perfect set of winter tires, please give us a call at (866) 961-8668.