Winter is coming and that means icy roads will follow. Rain turns to sleet, sleet turns to snow, snow freezes, melts, freezes again, gets plowed into giant mounds, and melts again only to freeze into sheets of black ice that you can’t see. People are rushing to and from holiday parties, even drunk driving. Visibility is limited in the bad weather conditions. Tiny cars struggle to grip the road and accidents happen even if you’re a seasoned driver. How can you prevent serious accident or injury? Well, it all starts with your tires.
Yes. Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that actually touches that icy, frozen road. Tires are the point of contact that can determine if you blow through that intersection, ram that van stopped at a light, or spin into a fence. Tires can help you car stop even on ice, steer through hydroplaning, and gracefully avoid a holiday-ruining accident. But they have to be the RIGHT tires.
The first thing to do is to check your owner’s manual or take your car to a tire professional. Your car was designed with a certain type, style, and size of tire in mind. Be sure that you are using the appropriate kind for your vehicle, or you may experience problems. The manual or tire expert may be able to recommend a better tire for winter driving, such as snow tires, chains, or other options.
Once you are sure you have the right tires, it’s time to check the wear and rotation. Do certain tires seem over-worn? Depending on your car’s drive (4 wheel, all wheel, front wheel drive) you may need to rotate them to keep things even. If your tires tread is worn down everywhere, it may be time to replace one or more tires. That grip is critical for maintaining control on icy winter roads.
Finally, you need to keep an eye on your tires’ inflation. Cold weather makes your tires slightly deflate. Check your tires regularly and become acquainted with the normal levels of pressure. If one appears to be leaking, a patch is usually a free or cheap fix. If your tires often seem low, you can fill them for free or a handful of change at some gas stations, or invest in an air compressor for your garage.
Your tires will keep you safe this winter if you just make sure they are in perfect shape. It’s well worth the effort!