Get Ready For Winter Driving: Keep The Pressure On

Dear Tracy,

I always dread winter driving season. Now that fall is here, I am beginning to worry about the ice and snow that is around the corner. A friend told me that if you reduce the pressure in your tires you will have better traction on snow and ice. Is that good idea?

Annie T.

Dear Annie,

Trying to improve your traction by decreasing the air pressure in your tires is definitely not a good idea. Not only does it not work, underinflated tires actually cause the engine to work harder, due to increased rolling resistance. Under inflated tires also affect your car’s steering and handling. Under inflation is the most common cause of tire failure because it promotes excessive tire stress, irregular wear, and poor handling.

It is, however, a very good idea to prepare for the winter driving season, and there are plenty of things you can do to drive safely.  The best way to avoid dangerous situations is to maintain control and remain safe on the road. Being ready for winter driving will help you do just that. Here are a few safe winter driving tips:

  • Install a set of quality snow tires, and be sure to install four of them to achieve the best handling and tracking.
  • Always drive a little slower during winter conditions.
  • Double your anticipated stopping distance when braking in bad weather because it always takes longer to stop a vehicle on ice and snow.
  • Keep in mind that a four-wheel drive SUV does not have better braking ability than a two-wheel drive car.

The changing of seasons is also a good time to make sure you are up-to-date on your required routine tire and auto maintenance. Driving a car that is equipped and ready to go is always the best way to avoid any problems on the road.