Winter is on its Way - Prepare for Safe Winter Driving

Its time to start preparing for fall/winter.Of course the first thing that comes to mind when prepping your car for winter is tires, because once the temperature drops below 45-degrees Fahrenheit, so does an all-season tire’s ability to grip the road. Severe weather brings on a whole new set of driving challenges – slush, ice and hard packed snow. And with all of the performance capabilities built into today’s vehicles, they will only perform as steadily and responsively as the tires they have fitted to their wheels. And in extreme winter weather, that can mean the difference between focused braking power and out-of-control handling.

“It’s a fact: as temperatures drop below 45 °, so does an all-season tire’s ability to grip the road.  And that can lead to dangerous driving conditions,” said Jay Spears, technical product manager, Continental Tire.  “Since all-season and winter tires are about as similar as sandals and snowshoes, we’ve launched this program to encourage our customers to stay safer in winter by switching to Continental Winter Tires.

“Summer tires just aren’t built to hold the road in the same way that winter tires do,” Spears continued.  “During winter, drivers experience a dramatic drop in grip, meaning longer stopping distances, less driving control and by far, less safety.”

Winter tires are uniquely designed to deliver safety and control in snow, ice, and cold weather conditions, because they are specially engineered to deliver a substantial increase of traction over all-season radials – by as much as a 25 to 50 percent. That’s enough gripping traction and braking power to avert a severe weather-related accident. 

It’s also important to install winter/snow tires on all wheel positions for optimal control. Failure to follow this recommendation could result in severe and dangerous handling conditions, he added.

ContiWinterContact™ winter tires are engineered with pliable tread compounds and tread designs that remain soft and flexible in even the coldest temperatures, increasing the contact area and providing better grip on wet or icy roads.  Tread design features include more supple compounds, deeper tread grooves and smaller shoulder grooves.


The Continental winter tire lineup includes:

The ContiExtremeContact – Our newest winter tire designed with state-of-the-art winter technology for advance performance in winter conditions which include wet, slush, ice and snow.
The ContiWinterContact T830P -- a state-of-the-art winter tire featuring exceptional handling and braking at low temperatures.
The ContiWinterContact TS810 -- engineered to handle unpredictable snow and wet driving conditions.
The ContiWinterContact TS810 S – built for winter driving performance.

Once your car is properly shod for the season, there are a number of other steps drivers can take to make sure their car is ready for the snow to fly.  Now is the time to give your car a thorough checkup.  You can do most of these jobs yourself, but some work really must be done by a professional.

Radiator: Add a dose of antifreeze to the coolant
Shocks: Should be checked.  Defective shock absorbers increase braking distance and shorten the lifetime of tires
Wiper fluid: Add a dose of frost protector
Battery: Check the acid level for optimum performance
Spark plugs: check for wear and replace if necessary
Connectors: Examine for corrosion
Lights:  Check and align properly for maximum efficiency
Door seals:  Silicon or WD-40 should be rubbed on each seal.
Door locks: Be sure to lubricate and grease
Be sure to include the following equipment in your trunk : a set of jumper cables, a snow brush/ice scraper and a de-icing spray
Winter tires: Set the pressure 2.9 psi higher than what is recommended for summer tires
Winter sports: Consider snow chains – thy may even be required in certain areas
Once you’ve given your car a thorough checkup, the best protection against breakdowns and accidents in winter is driving with foresight. This includes taking extra care on bridges or at traffic lights, as well as keeping a greater following distance from the car in front.

“Really the best advice we can offer drivers is to use common sense,” said Spears.