What Are the Driving and Insurance Benefits of Snow Tires?

Snow tires being driven on a snow-covered road in the woods.It’s reasonable to be nervous about driving in New England in the winter. The snow, slush, and ice generate remarkably unsafe driving conditions, but for most populations living in the northern United States, life doesn’t halt for the snow. If you’re looking to get a better grip on the road for your commute this winter, perhaps you’re considering snow tires as an option. While New England drivers typically purchase all-season tires for their cars, with heavy snowfall always a factor in winter, perhaps it is time to consider the benefits of snow tires.

What are Snow Tires and What Are They Made Of?

Snow tires are designed to weather the elements and don’t degrade as easily as other types of tires. While the cold New England temperatures typically cause the tread on all-season tires to harden, the specialized, cold-resistant rubber used for snow tires is designed to stay soft, offering the vehicle more traction in the snow. The tread pattern on snow tires is also designed to push snow away from your car to prevent a buildup on and under your tires. While they’re typically more expensive than your average tire – usually priced around $500 – they can last up to 40,000 miles, which will cover several winters.

What Are the Benefits of Snow Tires?

The premise of snow tires is to make winter travel safer and easier. While you may feel confident driving a four-wheel vehicle, inclement winter weather still puts you and others at high risk. If you commute to work during the winter, these types of tires can help you in the following ways:

  • Exceptional Traction: Since snow tire treads push snow away from your vehicle, not only are you better able to grip the road, but you’ll have far less of a chance of sliding into other drivers.
  • Better Braking: Snow tires have better traction than regular tires, making them better at braking on slippery roads. They also brake in half the time it takes for all-season tires on ice and snow.
  • Prevent Hydroplaning: Even after the snow starts to melt, the risk of hydroplaning remains. Since winter tires are more pliable than all-season tires, they’re better equipped to break the water’s plane rather than glide atop it.

You might even be able to save on insurance if you invest in snow tires. Some insurance carriers will offer a small percentage off your policy if you drive on snow tires in the winter.

When and How to Use Snow Tires

You should install your winter tires in mid-November and remove them in mid-March or early April. They’re not manufactured to be driven on year-round, so use them only during the wintery months to preserve their longevity. You should also store the winter tires in a cool, dry, climate-controlled area of your home in airtight bags to keep the oils from bleeding from the rubber. You should also clean them after the winter before storage. If you don’t have the means to install or remove tires yourself, an auto-body shop will be able to handle the task relatively cheaply.

Studded Tires as a Winter Tire Alternative

Studded tires have metal or hard rubber pins along the tread that provide even greater traction when driving on ice. While they aren’t much more expensive than standard winter tires, they do have restrictions in a lot of states. New Hampshire and Vermont don’t currently have studded tire restrictions, but Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island only permit their use during a designated period (i.e., Massachusetts only permits studded tires from November 1st to the end of April). However, come carriers similarly provide insurance discounts if you use these tires during winter.

Whether you’ll benefit from snow tires this winter depends on how much snow your region receives and if you feel comfortable driving in winter conditions. Winters in New England generate a lot of conditions that can lead to accidents, regardless of how experienced you are, so in most cases, snow tires are recommended. However, if you are unfortunate enough to get in an accident this season, your auto policy is there to help. At TJ Woods Insurance, we can pair you with the right auto insurance for your needs and inform you if your carrier offers a discount for using snow tires. If you’re looking for good rates on your policy, contact us today.