Even in years that haven’t experienced a Polar Vortex, ten percent of U.S. vehicle crashes are due to snow, sleet, ice, and slush, according to the Department of Transportation. That’s a lot of slipping, sliding, and insurance claims that might be avoided if more drivers knew how to operate their vehicles when the weather turns.
As a general rule, if you live in a part of the country where it snows and you can see your breath, you should have winter tires that offer more grip when the going gets slippery. A set of winter tires lasts about four winter seasons and will set the average driver back about $1,000, but the payback is potentially significant. A driver could pay that much in a deductible if she lost control of her car and cracked a fender. Or worse.
If you live in a part of the country where it snows and you can see your breath, you should have winter tires that offer more grip when the going gets slippery.
I have just been schooled in the benefits of winter tires at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where I spent a half day wheeling various Lexus vehicles around two snow-packed tracks, each with multiple types of turns and inconsistent surfaces. Designed to improve drivers’ inclement weather skills while simultaneously promoting the use of winterized wheels, regardless of what brand is stamped in the rubber, the school starts at $495 for a half day. One- and two-day schools are also available with passenger's-seat coaching in the techniques that will keep a car where it belongs: on the road.
After that eye-opening experience, I made this list of five techniques to remember when the roads are coated with snow: