Snow Tires: Stepping up Driver Safety

BWSSnow110120_0224Dedicated Snow Tires Make Significant Difference In Pickup Handling

It’s all about control. The typical street, all-terrain or mud tire found on today’s pickups work great in the environments they are designed for including winter driving situations except one: when the road surface is coated with ice and snow.

That’s when such tires, even with an “M&S” designation, lose their grip. Literally.

Dedicated snow/ice tires, on the other hand, have a rubber compound infused with silica and other special compounds that keep the rubber more pliable, and they have special tread designs that excel at gripping frozen surfaces.

A couple years ago the staff of HWT went to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, to see firsthand how some of the most popular snow tires compare to a factory street “all-season” tires on a 2011 GMS Sierra 2500HD 4Ă—4. 

We conducted the tests alongside some of the best winter drivers in the business – the instructors at Driving Sciences who run the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs.

The results of our tests showed dedicated snow tires significantly increase acceleration traction, braking and steering control compared to an all-season tire. 

Snow tires also outshine all-terrain and mud tires as these popular truck treads have less gripping surfaces on snow and harder tread compounds that stiffen up when temps are constantly below freezing. 

Keep that in mind as snow storms roll through and  temperatures dip into those single or sub-zero temps.

The charts in the slides below show some results of snow tires compared to the stock “all-season” tires found on a new pickup.