Winter Tires are designed to deliver safety and control in snow, ice,
and cold weather conditions. Many people think that all-season tires
can deliver this same performance, but this is not true. The superior
traction that winter tires deliver, as much as a 25 to 50 percent
increase over all-season tires, can very well be the margin you need
to stop in time or turn to avoid trouble.
Winter tires have special tread compounds that use one or more of the following features to deliver improved traction:
Meanwhile, all-season tires use very different compounds. These compounds are "averaged" to deliver better wear and good traction in a wide variety of conditions. However, the trade-off is a decrease in traction in conditions below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the point where all-season tire compounds begin to harden and lose traction. These tires must use denser compounds in order to deliver better wear. Micro pore or comparable technology is not suitable for these designs. For the same reason, no soft stud material is built into these tires.
Winter tires have tread designs dedicated to improving snow and ice traction. Today's most advanced winter designs deliver this while maintaining a comfortable, quiet highway ride as well as excellent dry traction. Winter tires use the following features in their tread design:
All-season tires can not include these features and still deliver the wear and high temperature traction that is required for driving during other times of the year. The following details also make all-season tires less desirable for driving in winter conditions:
To help you select a winter tire that improves your margin of safety, the
RMA designates winter tires that meet the new severe snow standard with a new
symbol. This sets them apart from standard M&S (mud and snow) rated all-season designs.
Remember that four winter tires are recommended to achieve optimum traction and safety.