Snow tires make a big difference


TJ Denhof

My brakes locked up, the traction control activated and I no longer had control of my car. Slipping and sliding, I almost went straight into head-on traffic on US-31. This was the first day of winter, and as far as I knew, I was screwed. Then, four round objects saved me from the dreaded winter: snow tires.

    Snow tires are a must in the treacherous Michigan winters, particularly for smaller cars. “Driving with regular tires in the winters sucks, it takes much longer to get places, it’s harder to control my car on ice/snowy roads, and it’s harder to accelerate at stops, especially with front wheel drive,” Jr. Chet Johnson said, who drives a 2007 Volkswagen Jetta. Driving in the snow without snow tires is definitely challenging compared to driving in snow tires because of what technology that snow tires bring. The reason snow tires are a necessity during the winter is because what they bring to the table in terms of safety and control. Snow tires, or winter tires, stay soft and flexible so they can grip the road, even in cold temperatures. The  tread also gives it the advantage in the winter; the tread design is meant to give more traction and allow less slipping than a normal tire would. “Oh it was definitely worth getting them. They  give me much better traction on the road. I feel much safer with them instead of my old regular tires. The difference between the two tires is not even close when driving in the winter. I would recommend that everyone gets them,” Jr. Tucker Fritz said, who drives a 2010 Volkswagen GTI. Professionals highly recommend cars switching over to snow tires in the winter due to safety issues. “Cars should definitely change over to winter tires for the season. Many people buy highway/street tires throughout the off-season(of winter) because they prefer them when traversing, but when it starts snowing and the roads get slick, these kind of tires may be unsafe on cars,” Caleb Mulder said, an employee at K&R Truck Sales and Repair.

  SUV’s and truck owners often don’t consider needing  snow tires. They believe that the size and weight of the vehicle they drive will help them in the snow and that the tires would not improve driving. According to Mulder, SUVs do not need snow tires because of their ability to drive in the snow. But for Jr. Tyler Bosma, that is not the case.  “It’s tough getting to school every day, it’s always icy and I try to drive straight but I do slip and get taken off the road because I don’t have winter tires,”  Bosma said, who drives a 2007 Honda Pilot. Jr. Jack and Hayden Taylor also have had problems with their SUV (Jeep Liberty). “We’ve gotten stuck twice so far, a tow truck has had to get us out both times,” Hayden said. Not all SUVs are able to drive smoothly through the snow. Although SUVs are bigger, snow tires would only make the drive safer and easier.

Driving under the age of 18 itself is already extremely dangerous. 16 year olds have a higher death rate related to car crashes than any other age. So how are you supposed to keep yourself safe in a much more challenging environment to drive in like a Michigan winter? The answer is simple: snow tires.