As a company based in New England, CarGurus understands that traveling at this time of year can quickly become perilous, and having the right vehicle for winter can make a world of difference. We’ve already seen our first batch of snow and expect more to arrive shortly. Of course, inclement weather can unfortunately coincide with some of the busiest travel times of the year. With the amount of traffic you’re likely to experience this weekend, and with the very real possibility of icy road conditions, we implore you to be proactive this winter and drive a vehicle that can perform well in less-than-ideal conditions. That’s the best choice for you and for other drivers on the road.
The Autumn Equinox is September 22, but when the kids go back to school, summer is unofficially over. Sure, there are plenty of warm days left, but the nights have started getting cooler, and it’s only a matter of time before the leaves change and the chill of fall and winter will take hold. Now’s the time to start thinking about tires.
Automakers routinely tout all-wheel drive as the best way to deal with challenging conditions, but regardless of which wheels get power, the tires are the only parts of a car that actually touch the road. A good set of winter tires can turn a rear-wheel-drive sports car into a competent winter commuter car, while a set of ultra-high-performance summer tires can render an AWD-equipped car useless in the snow.
Why do you need winter tires? The fast answer is handling. Well-designed winter tires have deeper treads than summer or all-season tires. (The latter, by the way, are really three-season tires if you live in the snow belt.)
Winter tires’ deeper treads help them deal with snow and the icy precipitation that creates slush. An interesting side benefit of winter tires is that they improve traction by packing snow in those treads for better grip on snow.
Also, winter tires are designed with tiny slits in the treads (or as Bridgestone calls them “snipes”). These provide biting edges on ice that help with acceleration, deceleration, and stopping.