Tips for Driving in Winter
For starters, be sure to brake and accelerate steadily and slowly, not rapidly or suddenly. Sudden actions can cause your vehicle to lose traction.
Drive consistently at slower speeds. This should allow you more response time and help you make more controlled stops and starts. Additionally. it is helpful to increase the driving distance between you and the vehicles in front of you, allowing more time and space for any necessary maneuvers.
Avoid stopping on hills. Starting from a full stop in winter weather is difficult enough, even on a flat surface. It’s even more challenging on a hill. Don’t try to power up hills. Slow, steady acceleration is the best way to go on wintry roads.
If you aren't sure and it isn't imperative that you drive, just stay home. Even with the best preparation, all possibilities cannot be accounted for. When conditions are very harsh, it’s best to avoid driving until road conditions improve.
Install Winter Tires
If you live in an area that sees harsh winter conditions, such as high snowfall and black ice, one of your first steps should be installing winter tires on your vehicle.
Winter tires provide levels of traction that all-season and summer tires can’t provide in winter conditions. We recommend installing your winter tires as soon as the temperature is consistently below 45 degrees, before the first snowfall.
Tire Tread Depth in Winter
Be sure to check the tread depth of your winter tires to ensure that they have enough tread to evacuate water, slush, and snow. Winter tires begin to noticeably lose traction earlier than summer and all-season tires, typically at or around 6/32nds of an inch, making it very important to regularly check winter tire tread depth.
Learn more about tire tread depth.
Air Pressure in Winter
Be sure to set your tires to the vehicle’s recommended air pressure. Tire air pressure plays a critical role in traction and performance, particularly in winter. For your safety, we recommend checking your air pressure at least once a month and before long trips.
Learn more about checking air pressure.
Age of Winter/Snow Tires
You should check the age of your winter tires. As tires age, their structural integrity can become compromised. This makes it difficult for tires to perform well in harsh winter conditions. For your safety, we recommend replacing your tires at most every six years. Tires are considered non-serviceable at ten years of age.
Learn more about tire aging.
Check Your Spare Tire
Be sure to check your spare tire. Having a fully functioning spare is important at all times, but never more than during hazardous winter months. When you inspect your tires, we recommend that you check the tread depth, air pressure, and age of your spare.
Learn more about spare tire maintenance.
Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter
Before winter strikes, it is wise to make sure your vehicle is fully prepared. Any routine maintenance should be taken care of. You should have an inspection to ensure that your vehicle is in optimal condition. It is a good idea to consider stocking it with any emergency equipment you may want on hand, just in case.
Even with the best preparation, all possibilities cannot be accounted for. If conditions are very harsh, it is best to avoid driving completely, or at least until road conditions improve.
Learn more from our winter tire FAQ's.
If you have any questions or need any assistance, call or stop by your local America's Tire store and we'll get you taken care of. We'll check your tire pressure for free, as well as consult with you on the best course of action for winter driving in your neighborhood.