This is a common question we hear in the tire biz as customers try to figure out whether they want to invest in snow tires or go with all season tires.
The answer depends on the kind of driving you do and where you live. In the state of Montana, we are lucky to be able to use studded snow tires. However, many states do not allow them.
If you drive on ice or snow and want maximum safety, you’ll want to put snow tires on your vehicle for the winter. Here’s why:
On a scale of 1 to 10, where a 10 is the best traction you can have on snow or ice, a good studded snow tire delivers a clear 10. In recent years, studless snow tires have made some giant leaps in terms of rubber compounding and tread design engineering. These innovations have dramatically increased the traction you’ll enjoy with most studless snow tires. Today’s studless snow tires can deliver a solid 9 to 9.5 on that 10-point scale of traction on ice and snow. By comparison, a typical all season tire will rank around a 5 or 6. This translates to significant differences in stopping and collision avoidance time.
So if you drive Montana roads in the winter, you’ll greatly improve your driving safety by putting snow tires on your vehicle. A final note – keep in mind that there can always be extreme ice conditions when even having an all-wheel drive vehicle, with the latest traction control technology and brand new studded snow tires still won’t be enough to keep you completely safe. Glare ice is just not going to be fun no matter what you throw at it. At those times, it’s best to get off the road as quickly as you can and wait until the plows and sanders work their magic on the road.
Be safe and have a wonderful winter!