Thanks to their special compound, winter tires offer the elasticity required to ensure maximum grip throughout the cold season, regardless of the road conditions. Summer tires can become hard when the temperature falls below 45 degrees, thereby losing the flexibility needed to build up sufficient grip for braking, starting off and cornering. Because of their greater suppleness in the cold, winter tires are able to interlock with asphalt, snow and ice, even at lower temperatures.
Here a few tips to keep you from slipping and sliding on the way to work in the morning:
- Listen to the weather report the evening before. If snow is predicted, you should plan to get going earlier, because of traffic jams and delay. In really treacherous weather, the safest thing to do is stay home.
- Before taking off, make sure all car windows are completely clear of snow and ice; if you try to get by with just a peephole, you may end up sharing the blame for an accident.
- Check your rearview mirror and then test your brakes as soon as it is safe to do so. This will give you a feeling for road conditions.
- Avoid shortcuts via residential side streets. These roads are cleared last, if at all.
- Allow an extra wide safety margin when stopping at traffic lights and intersections and pay close attention to the vehicles in front of you.
- Avoid braking just before the intersection, where it is usually especially slippery.
- Be especially careful when crossing bridges! They can be treacherously slippery in winter because they are "cooled" from above and below. Fog can form ice on very cold days and make roads slick.