Most areas of the United States will see snow at some point during the colder months, and there are a shocking number of people who aren't prepared. Snow tires are an essential part of winter automotive safety, yet a number of people never think of properly equipping their vehicles. While people don't usually think of snow as being slippery, once it becomes compacted it can be as slick as ice if your car doesn't have the right snow tires to dig into the frost and get a grip.
Snow tires are always a good idea when driving in snowy winter weather, but there is a difference between snow tires in various parts of the world. In Scandinavia, for example, snow tires are outfitted with metal studs in order to allow them to get proper traction in the snow and ice. These are popular, in part, because this part of the world is snowy so frequently and so heavily. Other areas, though, see their pavement bare of the white stuff more often, and the metal studded tires can tear up the bare roads. What's appropriate in a snow tire for Scandinavia, therefore, may be destructive in many other parts of world.
In more clement conditions, better traction is provided by softer rubber tires and the addition of sipes in the tires. Siping, or in the cases of some tires, microsiping, involves cutting thin slits in the surface of the tires that allow the tire to grab at the surface of the ice and snow more effectively, which may prevent slipping, sliding, and car crashes. While there are some tire manufacturers that sell pre-siped tires, there are also machines that can sipe tires at the store. Like spiked tires, though, not all siped tires are recommended for use on a dry road. They will not cause the road to be worn faster, like spiked tires would, but the tires themselves may not move as well as ordinary tires.
During the winter months, the use of snow tires can be a lifesaving addition to your driving habits. While it's true that all tires can be expensive, they are also an investment in your own safety, as well as the safety of the passengers in your car. Snow tires may seem like an extra hassle, and certainly aren't necessary in areas that never see snow, but in the snowier parts of the world they are a necessity.
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