On the post about my recent crappy day, I mentioned exchanging summer and winter tires on my truck. For those who seldom deal with winter weather, it might not be apparent what I am talking about.
I took a picture of the summer tires I just removed from the truck. They have a pretty aggressive tread pattern, and look like they should have great traction on anything, yet they are really awful in the snow.
Here's what the winter tires look like.
Notice all the little cuts? That is additional siping that the tire shop did to improve snow traction. That and the tire compound that stays softer at low temperatures makes all the difference!
To get a sense of how summer and winter tires differ on ice, watch this Tire Rack video:
Did you notice in the video the guy specifically says "studless" winter tires? Studded tires are just a little bit better than all-season tires, but not as good as studless winter tires. Check out this video:
Needless to say, I am a big fan of studless winter tires when the roads are icy. I'm not a huge fan of how the truck wallows around on them - it feels like you are driving on wobbly sponges. Even on dry pavement, the truck feels like it's sloshing side to side. Nevertheless, it's worth it to be able to leave home in the truck.