All-season vs. winter tires: what drivers should know

It may seem like a misnomer, but all-season tires aren’t really built to withstand winter driving conditions. In truth, winter tires are a much safer alternative. Here’s some information about what makes them the superior choice.

Tires need to be pliable enough to grip the road, which is why they contain rubber. However, summer and all-season tires are made with a compound that becomes rigid when the temperature falls to 45-degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, they can’t provide enough traction when the weather turns cold.

Winter tires, on the other hand, are made of a softer compound containing a higher concentration of rubber. This allows them to remain soft even in cold temperatures, thereby enabling them to grip snow-covered roads. In addition, they contain silica, which provides even more traction.

Named after its inventor, John Sipe, siping is the process of making hairline cuts across a surface to improve traction in wet or icy conditions. On tires, these small cuts create shallow grooves that displace water and snow. The marks prevent the tread from becoming clogged, which impedes your car from hydroplaning in wet conditions.

While each tire manufacturer has its own tread design, all tires share one common feature: their tread is single-directional. This allows the tire to push snow and ice away from its surface. It also enables winter tires to grip roads covered in snow, ice and slush.

Winter tires are a smart investment. They enhance your safety in extreme weather conditions and can help prevent accidents. You may even get a discount on your car insurance!