Tag Archives: snow

winter driving

What’s The Difference Between Winter and All Season Tires

The winter season is upon us, which means cold temperatures, snow, and ice will cause adverse driving conditions.  Which tire you equip your vehicle with can have a positive or negative effect on your winter driving ability.  This article will talk about the differences between winter and summer tires, more typically called summer tires.

Let’s look at the most obvious difference, tread pattern.  The tread pattern on winter tires are designed to assist in slush, ice, and snow.  The ability to channel snow and slush will assist in keeping rubber contact with the road.  This contact will ultimately lead to a more stable control of your automobile, whether it’s a front wheel drive car, minivan or 4×4 SUV.

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4 Wheel Drive In Snow Is Not 4 Wheel Brakes

4 Wheel Drive vehicles are fantastic to have in snow emergency situations, especially like those currently striking the Midwest.  I personally have a Jeep Grand Cherokee that gets me around in the snow, ice, mud, and whatever else gets thrown my way.  It instills confidence in myself and my wife’s driving when behind the wheel during questionable conditions.  The 4 wheel drive also allows us to provide services to friends and families who are unable to get out during the 8 inches of snow that have fallen in the past 24 hours.  But when we are out running, we also play it smart, by respecting the 4 wheel drive.

Having 4 wheel drive allows easier movement and perhaps even a more controlled movement in adverse weather conditions like snow.  However, introduce ice and having 4 wheel drive does nothing for stopping and can complicate matters during certain maneuvers.  When possible, only use part-time 4 wheel drive.  Moving at highway speeds in all wheel 4 wheel drive can cause instability and becomes less safe than moving in along snow and ice in normal 2 wheel rear-wheel drive.

Still allow time to stop before an intersection, you will not be stopping any better than that small Honda Civic in front of you.  Consider the life left in your tires when setting out on a wintery mix adventure, 4 wheels might be turning but if there is no grip left, it’s all for naught.

Go prepared, don’t think you are immune to being stranded while driving a 4 wheel drive vehicle.  Make sure your vehicle is stocked with snacks, water, blankets, and first aid kits, should the worse happen.  During a blizzard most towing companies will not come to your aid until after the storm passes, so you may be stranded for hours.  Those shriveled up raisins start looking awfully tasty after setting for 3 hours in total darkness.

Lastly, if you don’t have to be out, just stay home.  Don’t go play with your 4 wheel drive, let the emergency vehicles and road workers do their job.  Don’t risk becoming another emergency phone call into 911, if you are able to stay home, make some hot chocolate and enjoy being snowed in.