A whopping three out of every four drivers are nervous about driving in snow. If you’re among them, you might consider getting snow tires if you don’t already have them. Snow tires, also known as winter tires, are designed to better grip roads during snow, ice, slush, and cold temperatures. While many drivers use all-season tires throughout the year, snow tires are great for drivers who encounter snowy, icy conditions.

Winter Driving Statistics

Over 70% of all roads in the United States are in regions that receive over five inches of snow annually. Over 70% of Americans live in one of these snowy regions, so they know firsthand that driving in the winter can be a little intimidating. Snow and ice reduce pavement friction and make it harder for you to control your vehicle, which results in slower highway speeds, reduced roadway capacity, and a greater chance of collisions. Freeway speeds decline significantly when it’s snowing, and roads become less visible as the snow starts to pile up.

Twenty-five percent of all weather-related accidents in the U.S. occur on snowy and icy roads, and 15% of accidents happen during snowfall or sleet. Over 1,300 people are killed and 116,800 people are injured annually by car accidents on snowy or icy roads. Snow tires provide an extra layer of security against these elements and may make it easier to drive safely in less-than-ideal conditions.

What are Snow Tires Made Of?

Snow tires are designed to withstand elements that would degrade other types of tires. Cold temperatures cause the tread on all-season tires to harden, making it harder for them to grip the road. The rubber in snow tires is designed to stay soft in cold temperatures, and snow tires have tread patterns that provide better grip and traction in the snow. Their intricate tread patterns also push snow away from your vehicle to avoid buildup on your tires. Before installation, a set of winter tires typically costs around $500 and lasts for roughly 30,000 to 40,000 miles. They’re an investment that can be used over multiple winters.

Red car driving in snow - do I need snow tires?The Benefits of Snow Tires

Snow tires make driving in the winter safer and easier. If you commute to work in snowy weather, you may want to invest in snow tires for your vehicle.

Better Braking on Snow & Ice

A recent survey found that 38% of all consumers believe they don’t need winter tires if their vehicle is equipped with four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive works well for accelerating in the snow, but your vehicle might still have difficulty braking on icy roads. Braking problems are the most common problems drivers encounter in the winter. Snow tires have more traction than regular tires and make braking easier on slippery roads.

Snow tires also stop up to 50% faster than all-season tires on ice and snow. A study examined the braking times of winter tires, all-season tires, and summer tires while traveling 10 mph on an icy road. After braking, the car with the winter tires came to a full stop in 21 feet and 2 inches, while the all-season tires stopped at 39 feet and 10 inches. The summer tires stopped at 47 feet. Summer tires are useful for drivers who live in warm climates because they can increase performance and precision when used in warm weather.

Commuting Ease

Surveys show that many drivers change plans to avoid having to drive in bad weather—including going to work. Not being able to commute due to inclement weather can cost workers. Winter tires are a great solution for anyone who needs to commute to work in snowy weather or risk losing pay. They might even end up paying for themselves.

Saving with Safety

Winter tires may seem expensive, but collisions and rising insurance rates are more expensive. Snow tires can help you keep your driving record clean by helping you avoid accidents on treacherous winter roads.

When to Use Snow Tires

Most people use their snow tires between the months of November and March and remove them once the weather is warmer. Snow tires need to be removed at the end of the season to avoid wear and tear. The soft rubber in snow tires gets worn down and delivers longer stops on clear roads than all-season tires. You never know which winter snowstorm will mark the end of the season, but it should be safe to take your winter tires off once temperatures are consistently above 40ºF.

Don’t drive in inclement weather without insurance. Explore one of The General’s affordable insurance policies today. Forgot to put on your winter tires and got into an accident on the road? The General specializes in insurance policies for high-risk drivers and drivers that need non-standard policies. We even offer a discount for keeping your driving record clean. Worried about getting stranded in bad weather? Make sure you have roadside assistance on your policy and so you can get behind the wheel with total confidence.