Winter Driving: A tale of two tire types

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Winter traction tires use a rubber blend that stays
flexible, almost sticky, when the temperatures
drop below freezing. Photo courtesy WSDOT
Just a couple of months ago, we were basking in a weirdly warm early fall, with the thermometer flirting with 80 degrees. 

Who had winter traction tires on their mind? Not this guy, because too hot!

What a difference four weeks makes.

With overnight temperatures below freezing, WSDOT crews have been spraying anti-icer on highway travel lanes that can get slick from overnight frost or potential lowland snow. 

So, a couple of weeks ago I performed my annual ritual and mounted dedicated winter rubber on our rigs for safer winter driving.

Winter traction tires use a rubber blend that stays flexible, almost sticky, when temperatures drop below freezing. 

Between the special rubber and aggressive tread pattern, winter tires stick to a slick road surface so you have more control over how your vehicle stops, turns and goes than you would with standard tires. 

Even my impractical Mazda Miata convertible can get around fine with four good winter traction tires.

If you need to cross mountain passes this winter, dedicated winter traction tires are the way to go (studded tires are legal now through March 31). They’re the only way to cross a mountain pass when weather forces WSDOT to declare TRACTION TIRES REQUIRED, short of chains.

Please prepare for winter travel. You don’t want to be the driver who causes a blocking spinout on the pass when traction tires are advised or required. We’re all in this together. Be patient. Be courteous. Be smart. That will help keep traffic flowing.

--Article by the anonymous WSDOT Snohomish County traffic guy


Anonymous,  December 13, 2022 at 8:51 PM  

I just got new tires on my Hyundai Accent and the person at the tire shop said they had winter tires on a special. Never thought I really needed them but glad I got them!! I got them the day before the snow started and I drove right through the snow and never had a problem. Love them!!

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