Rock Talk

Snow Tires and SUV Safety

Last updated on January 8, 2021 at 07:44 pm

The best way to stay safe during bad weather in the winter months is to not go out at all. If you must venture out on the roads, make sure you read our tips on driving on the snow and ice and make sure you’ve got a good set of tires on whatever vehicle you’re driving.

It doesn’t matter if you drive a car, truck, or SUV. If your vehicle has all-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, traction control, or some other “all-terrain” features, those are helpful but—’s still all about the tires.

All-wheel drive shifts power from wheel to wheel as needed. Four-wheel drive uses a low gear and locking differential to help get you through the deep snow. Neither feature can be completely effective on the wrong tires.

Heavy snow requires radial snow tires. Living in New Jersey, you probably don’t need chains, but if you live in a rural area, it might not hurt to have them in case of emergencies. A bit different than “all-weather” tires, real snow tires have rubber and tread patterns specially formulated to get the best traction in deep snow.

The WORST tires for winter are high-performance tires that have low aspect ratio. These tires are great for road traction and handling under normal conditions, but you’ll be skidding all over the road if you drive on snowy or icy roads. Combine these tires with real-wheel drive and you’ll need to be especially careful.

SUVs can create a false sense of security in bad winter weather conditions. Despite what some commercials imply, bigger definitely does not mean better when it comes to handling slippery winter conditions. Because people sometimes feel safe in their big all-wheel or four-wheel drive SUVs, they may think they can drive through the snow at normal speeds. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you have the wrong tires on any vehicle and try to drive fast on ice or snow, you can skid and potentially flip your vehicle. SUVs can be even more dangerous because they often weigh more than other vehicles and can’t stop as quickly.

Originally this post was going to be just about the false security of SUVs, but since we learned quite a bit about tires in our research, Plymouth Rock Assurance wanted to pass along the info!

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