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With the Midwest and eastern states smothered in snow and accosted by abnormally frigid temperatures, this winter has been uncommonly excruciating for people in the Northern U.S. Given the brutal weather, tires are a surprisingly appropriate subject for discussion.
Chaos ensues at local tire shops when the snow belt states get their first flurries of the season. Like an animal instinct, the first sign of fluffy white flakes has people running to the garage, stuffing the family hauler with dusty winter rubber and racing off to the installation shop. Problem is, by then it’s already too late.
Winter tires should be installed well in advance of the first snowfall. Regardless of whether they are snow tires, ice tires or winter performance tires, all cold weather rubber is designed for more than just messy weather. These tires feature rubber compound and tread designs that are created to help maintain traction in colder weather even if the roads are clear and dry.
Don't rely on All-Season Tires in Snow and Ice
With the temperatures dropping and snow falling, winter tires can’t be ignored as an important part of staying safe in slippery conditions.
You can buy just about anything nowadays. Ralph Lauren sells dog sweaters embroidered with the Polo logo, chihuahuas dare not venture into the snow without their booties and now you can buy socks… for your car. Is this consumerism run amok?
Maybe not, there’s a new safety product aiming to replace snow chains and it’s called the WeissSock. Essentially it’s a cover that slips over a car tire, kind of like the shower caps your aunt Bertha used…
Here’s the idea: drivers living in areas where snowfall can be sporadic but heavy might find this product to be useful and more convenient than slipping chains around their wheels during nasty weather. The WeissSock is made by Italian company Wiessenfels and uses a material that helps tires stick in dry snow conditions, allowing tires greater grip.
WiessSocks cost about $84 each, which works out to roughly the same cost as a set of chains. Much the same as the traditional equipment it competes with, you can’t drive fast or stomp on the brakes without damaging them. We haven’t had a chance to test the product ourselves, but they seem to work based on videos of actual use posted online. You can watch one of them below, and we apologize in advance for the elevator music. It’s terrible, we know.
Motorists in the UK are being hit with a one-two punch, after a shortage of winter tires left drivers scrambling to find appropriate tires for the chilly conditions.
Strong demand for winter tires due to last winter’s heavy snowfall has led to a shortage of snow tires. Even with a 400 percent increase in deliveries to the UK, supplies look to be sold out through January.
Meanwhile, drivers are reporting that some insurers are raising premiums on vehicles with winter tires, due to their install being considered a “modification”. Insurers seem to be ambivalent regarding the proven safety benefits of winter tires, and motorists are understandably outraged.
[Source: Auto Express]