Icy roads are very slick indeed, but there is still some useful traction to be found with the proper tires. Top tires in the Studless Ice & Snow category such as the Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 and Michelin X-Ice Xi3 can give you a surprising amount of grip on the ice. How much a difference? We drove our BMW test cars to the ice rink to find out!
Why an ice rink? The consistent temperatures and relative humidity of an ice rink allow for repeatable and consistent test results which closely mimic icy intersections that are often found in winter driving conditions. If you've driven much in the snowbelt, you have probably experienced the feeling of panic that occurs when you are unable to stop your vehicle in slick winter conditions.
I can tell you from personal experience both in testing tires on the ice rink and by using Studless Ice & Snow tires on my own vehicles, that the best winter tires can make a dramatic difference. To learn more about my experiences with winter tires, read "My Story on Winter Tires."