October 17, 2013 3:09 am
"Winter driving can be intimidating and hazardous, and is something that you really do need to prepare for," said Anant Gandhi, product manager for winter tires at Bridgestone Americas. "It's not just about having the right equipment; it's also important that drivers understand how to respond correctly to various winter hazards. We all have a responsibility to make sure we prepare not just our vehicles, but also ourselves."
Some key tips for winter driving include:
If you can see your breath, it's time to switch. When the temperature approaches freezing, switch your all-season or high-performance tires to winter tires. With unique polymers and tread pattern elements, winter tires are optimized for more grip and the control you need in winter weather conditions.
Periodically check traction, or available grip, when driving in challenging conditions. Road conditions can change drastically in a short period of time/distance in winter. Apply the brakes with moderate pressure to determine the available grip and modify your driving, if needed, to respond to ever-changing road conditions.
Maximize available grip by separating driving maneuvers when negotiating a curve. Brake to an appropriate speed while traveling in a straight line prior to a curve. This allows you to use all of the available grip for negotiating the curve. Accelerate gradually when you are able to straighten the steering wheel at the exit of the turn.
Avoid cruise control in wet, icy or snowy conditions. Maintain control of acceleration and deceleration at all times.
Forgo driving if the weather looks too treacherous. Safety comes first.
Winter tires are designed to provide maximum performance during low winter temperatures and on ice, snow and slush. They perform better due to the combination of specialized winter tread patterns, deeper tread depth and unique tread compounds that remain softer in winter temperatures.
Retailers offer a wide range of tires sold as winter tires with an M+S (mud and snow) rating, but they are not always equal when it comes to performance.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) in the U.S. and the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) developed the mountain/snowflake symbol, which can be found on a tire's sidewall, to designate winter tires that meet the newest severe snow standards. Tires that have earned this symbol can be expected to provide 20 to 40 percent more traction in winter conditions than conventional all-season tires, which may be the difference between driving safely and losing control.
Source: Bridgestone Americas. Inc.
Published with permission from RISMedia.