Driving in winter weather can be challenging. Snow and ice create slippery conditions that can lead to skidding without enough traction for your winter tires. While you should always drive cautiously or stay off the road when conditions are unsafe, there are a few tricks for increasing traction that can help you get to your destination safely.
How to Give Your Winter Tires More Grip in the Snow
1. Maintain Proper Tire Pressure
When the temperatures drop, so does tire pressure. Low pressure increases friction, wearing out the rubber and increasing the risk of a blowout.
It also makes it harder to steer and reduces the tread's ability to cut through the snow, increasing the likelihood of skidding. Check the pressure every week and ensure that all four tires have enough air in them.
2. Have the Tires Siped
Tire siping is the process of cutting small slits in the surface of the rubber to give it more traction and stopping ability in slippery conditions. Winter tires are typically siped during manufacturing. However, if you don't have these tires, the siping can be done by a professional.
3. Add Weight
If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, weighing down that axle can improve traction. Filling the trunk or bed with sandbags, soil, or kitty litter can increase the weight by a few hundred pounds and give the wheels more grip.
4. Drive in Existing Tracks
If the roads haven't been cleared yet, drive in the tracks created by other vehicles whenever you can. Although the packed snow can be slippery, you are less likely to get stuck if you stick to an existing path. Drive slowly and increase the three-second rule to six seconds in snowy conditions to leave enough space between you and the other car.
5. Use Socks or Chains
Tire socks or snow chains can improve grip in treacherous conditions. Tire socks are fabric covers that go over the tires to increase traction. However, they aren't designed for speeds over 30 miles per hour.
Chains also provide more grip. They aren't necessary if you have winter tires, but can be helpful on hills and in deep snow.
If you need quality winter tires for safe driving this season, visit M & C Tire in Kalispell, MT. Their Tire Industry Association® certified technicians can help you find the right ones for your car. They provide drivers throughout Kalispell, White Fish, Columbia Falls, Big Fork, Lakeside, and Somers, with professional installation and a range of other services, including tire siping and wheel alignments. To learn more about their work, visit their website, or call (406) 752-9662 to schedule an appointment.