There are many things about winter to enjoy; cooler weather, picturesque views of trees without leaves and the snow covered earth, sledding and snowman-building with the family. On the flip side, winter can create some really adverse driving conditions that can make leaving the house downright dangerous. That is why when you are buying winter tires you should be able to trust that they will be able to get you where you need to go as safely as possible. To reassure customers and continue to improve tire technology, all tire manufacturers and many dealerships perform winter tire tests so that they are able to offer not just good tires but great tires for any winter weather condition.
Depending on where you live, and sometimes depending on the day or the hour, you may experience a variety of winter weather conditions including; rain, sleet, snow, and ice, that may also be accompanied by strong winds and low visibility. It’s nearly impossible to incorporate all of the variables into a tire test, so they primarily use ice, snow, rain, and dry conditions.
Each test is run in the same way with the typical order being ice, snow, rain, and dry. Three or four different types of tires are selected; winter and snow tires for the test and all-weather and summer for the comparison and control. Each tire is from the same line, or as close as possible, and is the same size. Once the tires have been selected the tests can begin. Each tire is run through the same tests with the first being how long it takes the vehicle to go from 0-40mph (typical surface road speed) and then from 0-60mph (typical highway speed). The second set of tests is measuring how far it takes the vehicle to stop at each speed, 40mph and 60mph.
Because winter tires are designed from a rubber material that stays flexible even in freezing conditions and has a tread pattern to prevent snow buildup, they should show substantially better results than the all-weather or summer tires; especially on the ice and snow. Depending on what brand of tires you have you can probably look online for various tests and results.
The most important thing to take away from these tests is the importance of having the proper tires for the season. Winter can bring some nasty weather and if you don’t have the appropriate tires you’ll be spending more time in the ditch than on the road. And the same goes for summer. Winter tires are not designed for summer conditions and can make for unsafe driving conditions. By properly maintaining your tires and always using the right tires for each season you’ll be taking important steps to keeping your vehicle running smoothly and safely.