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Are Your Tires Safe for Winter Driving?

Are Your Tires Safe for Winter Driving?

During the winter driving months, it’s important to remember that your brakes stop your wheels, but your tires stop your car. Brake maintenance is vitally important, but you also need to take a good, hard look at your tires to determine whether you can trust them as the roads become slick and sloppy. To help keep you safe during winter driving, Brach Eichler offers a few tire tips for you to consider.

First, here are your choices. In New Jersey you can drive with:

  • All-season tires — Regular tires designed for use throughout the year. The advantage here is that you don’t have to buy another complete set of tires and change them twice a year.
  • Winter tires — Tires designed for the winter months have special tread for gripping snow and ice. Do they perform as well as advertised? Are they worth the additional expense and hassle? The answers depend on the amount of snow that falls and the type of terrain you generally drive on.
  • Studded snow tires — In New Jersey, it’s legal to have these snow tires on your car between November 15 and April 1. During heavy snows, you’ll be happy you have them, but studded tires actually give you less traction when the streets are not covered with snow. So, the net effect could be to make your car less safe.
  • Chains when appropriate — Chains give the best traction on snow and ice. They are easier to get on and off than a different set of tires and therefore are the most flexible option. A set of chains is also much less expensive than a whole new set of tires.  

Dan Robinson, writing for the website icyroadsafety.com, does an excellent job of examining the facts and myths surrounding winter tires and concludes that for most folks throughout the United States changing in and out of winter tires is simply impractical. One salient point he raises that we’d like to emphasize is that winter tires may give drivers an unrealistic sense of security when driving fast on snow and ice. The result could be a disastrous accident.

Whatever type of tire you choose for winter driving, be sure the tires are well maintained. This means:

  • Tires are inflated to the correct air pressure
  • Tire tread is deep enough to clear snow while keeping contact with the road
  • Tires are rotated regularly and balanced
  • Car is in proper alignment

If you haven’t checked your tires in a while, please take a good look or ask a professional to evaluate them. It’s better to kick your tires today than to be kicking yourself tomorrow.

Brach Eichler represents clients injured in auto accidents throughout the Garden State. If you have questions about your rights in any such case, call us at 973-364-8300 or contact our office online.

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