If you have had a traction problem when driving up to, or more importantly down from, your lodge or apartment at your resort or have had a driving safety issue on mountain roads it will be because of the type of tyres are fitted to your vehicle. Due to their width, rubber compound and tread pattern, high performance summer tyres provide unacceptable grip for low temperature snow driving. High performance, high speed rated tyres and cold winter alpine temperatures, snow and icy roads are NOT compatible because this type of tyre was never designed by the tyre maker to be driven in low ambient temperatures or in snow and icy conditions.
It is also important to note that the recent advancements in electronic driver aids, such as ABS, ESC and traction control do not provide more traction. These electronic aids only prevent drivers from over braking or overpowering the available traction of their tyres. The only thing the driver can do to increase traction, to actually get more grip and safer control, is to install winter/snow tyres. The safety issues that occur during extreme weather conditions, are compounded not only on the road conditions but also by the effect of the cold weather on vehicle tyres. The tread compound of high performance summer tyres that are fitted, becomes like "hard plastic" at below 7° thereby losing the flexibility needed to build up sufficient grip for braking, for starting traction and for cornering. The real key to winter tyre performance is, ironically, not the traction to accelerate, even though grip to drive through deep snow may be the first thing we think about with snow tyres. Instead, the real key is braking performance. The ability to stop is actually more important than the ability to go, and it is under these “exit event” conditions that winter/snow tyres excel.
Here is one way to determine how much tyre grip is available for your vehicle when driving in challenging conditions on your snow trip........ When it is safe to do so, at a safe speed, and, make sure that no one is close behind you, apply the brakes firmly until the wheels lock up and the ABS is activated. Keep the brake pedal pressed down until the vehicle stops completely. This will give you a clear indication of the grip available at that particular point in time. You can repeat this test to continually monitor grip in different conditions.