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Are Your Tires Right for Winter Driving? Get to your Holiday Dinners Safely!

The days are getting darker, temperatures are getting colder, and we all know what that means – winter.  While there’s much to love about winter—the holidays, playing in the snow, sitting by a warm fire—driving in bad weather is no fun at all, and if you are unprepared, it can result in disaster.
The winters in many cold weather climates are unpredictable to say the least.  For instance, The East Coast is still enjoying weather in the 60’s and it’s nearly Christmas.  Weather forecasters can give us clues of what the day has in store, but weather patterns can change quickly.  If you’re like me, you’ve been in a situation where you’ve left for your destination in clear weather, only to encounter bad weather somewhere along the way.
While you can’t control the weather, you can control how safe your vehicle is.  One way to make sure your vehicle is safe for winter driving is to ensure it is outfitted with the right tires.  You’ll be safer if your vehicle’s tires complement road conditions, and if you live in a rural area, avoiding situations where you are stranded outside in cold-weather conditions could mean the difference between life and death.  Let’s go over the three types of winter driving tires:

All-Season Tires.  These types of tires are good for three out of four seasons, and will be adequate in light snow, but won’t be very effective in heavy snow, slush, or ice.  Furthermore, all-season tires tend to lose their grip if temperatures drop below 44˚F.

Winter Tires.  These tires are made of a more flexible material, and are more effective in colder temperatures.  In addition, deeper treads allow the tires to better grip the roads in snowy and slushy conditions.

Studded Tires.  Studded tires perform best in very cold conditions on wet ice.  If you live in an icy area, and must navigate hills, this could be the best tire for your situation.

Often, people think that they’ll go the extra mile and get studded tires, but this isn’t always the best way to go.  If your road conditions are more snowy than icy, regular winter tires will do a better job than studded.
How many winter or studded tires do you need?  Experts recommend that you install four tires, even if your vehicle is front-wheel drive.  This will further increase control in snowy or icy conditions.  In addition, avoid mixing or matching treads and tire types.  If one tire needs to be replaced, get the same tire, or one that is very similar.  Mixing tread types can damage your car and cause one wheel to stick while another slides and turn  your car sideways or worse.

Finally, during the winter months, be sure to check the conditions of your tires frequently.  If tires look worn or treads look shallow, it may be time to replace your tires.  Tire pressure also fluctuates with changes in temperature, so be sure to check the air pressure of your tires on a weekly basis.
 
Be Prepared
Another tip for winter driving is to make sure that you are prepared in the event that you become stranded on the side of the road.  Have an emergency kit in your car that contains a flashlight, batteries, and space blanket.  It is also a good idea to keep a car cell phone charger handy.
About the Author
Joseph Lombardo is a New Jersey injury attorney.  If you have been injured in an accident related to winter driving or someone else’s negligence, please contact us today for a free consultation.
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