Few things are more heart-pounding for a driver than applying the brakes and discovering nothing is happening. A very common cause of this is inadequate tire traction in winter weather. After all, no matter how good the car is, if your tires aren't suited for the road conditions, driving on ice and snow can be treacherous.
Many drivers have been conditioned over the years to believe the best solution for this issue is to install tire chains. Although chains are still a good solution for some, advancements in tire technology have given drivers a viable alternate solution.
Today's Studless Ice and Snow tires utilize the latest tread designs and compounds to provide excellent traction in severe snow and ice conditions. These tires also perform well on dry roads, which is the primary downside to using tire chains. Tire chains are good for temporary use only but for everyday driving, winter / snow tires are a better solution for the following reasons:
- Safer driving on dry roads
- Proper fitment for each vehicle
- No need to remove tires on clear days
- Will not damage roads and driveways
Tire chains provide good traction in deep snow, but they severely diminish handling and traction on dry roads. Also, late model sedans and coupes have limited fender clearance compared to older vehicles which can prohibit the use of chains on many cars. Tire chains are generally antiquated for most conditions, however, there are still some useful applications such as mountain driving. For example, tire chain requirements in California depend on the severity of the snowstorm and are as follows:
- Requirement one: Snow tires or chains are required.
- Requirement two: Chains are required on all vehicles except four-wheel drive vehicles equipped with snow tires on all four wheels.
- Requirement three: Chains are required on all vehicles, no exception.