AskPatty’s Winter Tire & Driving Safety Tip 1: Winter Weather Requires Winter Tires
If you live or travel in snowy climates, your tires need the extra grip and turning capabilities that only winter tires can deliver. This is also true if you drive a four-wheel or all-wheel-drive vehicle.
Many people think that all-season tires can deliver year-round performance, but if you live where you frequently encounter snow or ice, or if the temperature consistently hovers around freezing, all-season tires just won't cut it.
According to the Weather Network, whenever the average outdoor temperature hovers around 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 degrees Celsius), your tires will be affected. As the temperatures drop below 45 degrees, non-winter tires lose elasticity and the grip they have on the road. The best tires to have when the temperature drops are winter tires because they have tread designs dedicated to improving snow and ice traction, and their rubber compounds have been specially formulated to stay soft and flexible in the cold. (Conversely, soft-compound winter tires will deteriorate faster in hotter temperatures.)
To help you select a winter tire that improves your safety in the snow, the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) designates winter tires that meet the severe snow standard with a new symbol. Only tires that have the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol (a snowflake inside a mountain) have been tested for use in severe snow conditions.