Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter is here for good this time.

Winter weather blew into our area over the last couple of weeks. Daytime high temperatures just below freezing, with high winds and a combination of powdery drifting snow, and wet teflon. Naturally this means that everyone around here promptly forgot how to drive in snow conditions and the accident rate went through the roof. I've said it before on this blog, and I'll say it again : winter tyres. Don't mess around with all-weather tyres if you live anywhere with a decent amount of snow and cold roads - just do it. This year I'm sporting two-wheel drive, having given up all-wheel-drive for the weight and mpg advantage. So this morning I had my first proper test of a moderately chunky SUV with 2WD and snow tyres, on packed wet snow from a standing start going uphill. It passed with flying colours. As I quietly made my way past all the other cars who were nicely polishing the road to a glossy black-ice finish with their summer- and all-weather-tyres on the same hill, I noticed the traction control light flicker on a couple of times, but it was nothing dramatic. The super sticky rubber compound, aggressive tread and plentiful siping on the tyres was doing it's job nicely. Seriously people - if you've never driven on modern snow tyres in the snow, it's a revelation.


Paul said...

Hey Chris,

So are the tires just made of a different compound or do they have studs in them as well?


Chris said...

They're made from a much softer, more pliable rubber compound. If you drove them exclusively in the dry, you'd likely not see more than 5000 miles out of them. They have tens of thousands of siping grooves cut into them in zigzag fashion, as well as 3d "staircase" treads. All this combined means they have probably 1,000 times the tread area of a normal tyre to grip the snow. Plus you can stud them if necessary. Mine don't have studs.