Snow and ice are the most challenging conditions drivers typically face and the tyres they use can make a big difference. New cars, vans, and light trucks are usually fitted with either summer or all-season
tyres as original equipment. They are not fitted with winter tyres. Summer tyres provide traction on dry, wet and warm conditions but they were never intended to encounter winter’s cold slush, snow, and ice. While all-season tyres provide traction in a wider range of temperatures, we found that they can be a jack of all trades and master of none. In order to better understand how much traction these types of tyres provide on the ice, we compared them to today’s hi-tech winter tyres with our local ice rink’s glare ice replicating the slippery intersections often encountered during winter.
We began with acceleration, comparing how long it took the test cars to cover a 60-foot distance to the center of the ice rink. The summer tyres on the red car relied heavily on the traction control to begin their trip and took 7.4 seconds to cover the 60 feet. All season tyres on the silver car relied less on the traction control to initiate their trip down the ice, but still took about 6.5 seconds. The stud-less winter tyres on the blue car provided optimum grip on the ice, taking only about 21 feet 2 inches to stop. The stopping distances are most obvious when to compare the results side by side. Our final test relied less on traction control and more on their ability to grip the ice. They took on about 4.5 seconds to complete their run. We evaluated stopping traction by measuring how many feet it took to come to a complete stop from ten miles an hour.
The limited ice traction on the summer tyres on the red car caused the car’s anti-light breaking system to work over-time and they took about 47 feet to stop. While the all-season tyres on the silver car relied less on the car’s ABS to control lockup. It took them about 39 feet and 10 inches to stop the vehicle. The stud-less winter tyres on the blue stop the stopping differences were most obvious when you compare the results cornering where we compared the cars marked by traffic cones.
Read more: About winter tyre