Walking in a winter wonderland may inspire warm feelings, but winter driving has the opposite effect. Winter driving can be challenging, but keeping your car properly maintained goes a long way towards peace of mind when winter weather hits. Safe winter driving starts where the rubber meets the roadthe tires.
A tire designed to perform in winter conditions can help drivers feel safer and more confident. The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 tire, is one such tire engineered to tackle icy roads and potentially hazardous driving conditions.
According to Ed Gliss, test driver and technical expert for Michelin, all-season tires are a safe bet for conditions below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but once the temperatures reach the freezing point, and lower, consider winter tires, which provide superior traction for handling on snowy, icy roads.
When outfitting your car with winter tires, it's important to consider and understand what features of the tire generate the traction grip and handling to confidently navigate in winter conditions.
Tread: The greater the number of tread blocks on a tire, the better it performs, by increasing the tire's ability to grip the road under icy, snowy conditions. The Michelin X-Ice Xi3 is designed with a 15- percent increase in biting edge for a reliable grip.
Tread Rubber Compound: Chemistry plays a large role in developing the safest possible tires for winter driving conditions. A silica compound, such as Michelin Flex-Ice, can help maintain tire flexibility in sub-freezing temperatures, which contributes to more reliable tire performance on ice or snow-covered roads. Silica also maintains a tire's firmness when temperatures are moderate, which improves grip and tire wear.
Whether or not you have winter tires, don't forget to check your tire pressure regularly to help ensure your tires' optimal performance. Regular pressure checks are especially important during winter months, as tires lose pressure as the temperature drops. Other tips for safe winter driving include checking the condition of windshield wiper blades and fluid levels, and checking headlights and brake lights to be sure they are fully functional.