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Get good winter tires and be safer in the snow

Updated on September 28, 2012
The Blizzak WS70
The Blizzak WS70 | Source

Winter Driving

Well folks, like it or not winter driving is coming. Snow and ice will wreak havoc on the roads causing all kinds of treacherous driving conditions. There's a lot of advice on how to handle these conditions, like driving slower and giving yourself more room for stopping. There are also tires that will give you the upper hand in these conditions. I think that these tires are priceless.

A dedicated winter tire will be a much softer tire with a more aggressive tread design. The drawback to a lot of 'aggressive' designs means a lot of noise. However, modern technology has created some very cool design features.

This statement from Bridgestone from the Tire Rack website gives you some idea, " Bridgestone's NanoPro-Tech silica-enhanced Tube Multicell compound layered on top of a standard winter compound. The Tube Multicell compound features thousands of microscopic tubes and cells uniformly distributed throughout the compound (which makes the rubber look like Swiss cheese when examined through a microscope) that wick away the water that often forms between the tire's contact patch and the surface of snow-packed and icy roads. New pores and tubes are constantly exposed around the tread as the tire wears. This flexible rubber compound improves the tire's grip in cold conditions while the bite particles attached to the tubes scratch at packed snow and icy surfaces for traction."

So the really cool thing about that is the fact that usually there is a slight layer of water on top of the ice on the roads, especially at intersections. The highway crews focus on these areas and cars idle at the light which melts the ice on top. As we all know, wet ice is very slick. Basically, these tires are able to pull away the water and grip right to the ice. These tires have actually been tested on an ice rink. The difference it makes in stopping and handling is truly incredible.

The only problem is, because the tires are so soft, you don't want to leave them on all year. They will wear out in one season if they are driven on in the summer. It's advisable to put them on in November and remove them in March, depending on your region. I know it's hard to run a summer and winter set when it comes to the initial investment, but you will actually get more life out of your tires because they haven't been ran all year.


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