When you drive in winter conditions you will also end up also experiencing icy conditions, as hard packed snow becomes like ice. This is common in crossings where people brake a lot before the crossing and it will become very icy. This is why you really need to keep your distance and approach crossings with stop lights or signs cautiously. Since snow tires will need to also cover ice, they have now evolved and are nowadays mostly referred to as winter tires. Winter tires will have a tread design that is geared for both snow and ice and they will have some grip particles or studs integrated into the tread.
For winter tires it is important that they are approved for winter use and have the severe service emblem. It isn’t enough to only have the M+S marking, which indicates that the tread is optimized for both mud and snow. This marking is let up to the tire manufacturer to add to show that their tires have a tread that can handle heavy solids without getting stuck in the tread. It is not an indication for how well they can perform during winter conditions. You will need to have the performance test based severe service emblem that indicates that they have passed the tests and are safe for use during the winter.
When driving on ice you will have the best grip if you use studded tires, as they can grip the ice with the studs that protrude from the tread. As the studs dig into the ice you will have excellent grip and traction. If you prefer not to use studded tires or they are not legal in your area, then you have the non-studded tires that instead of studs will use silica as gripping articles. They are incorporated into the tread and will create a sand paper like surface that can also create good grip on ice. In addition to gripping particles they will have integrated various innovations into the tread that can grip the ice.
When it comes to snow, it is easier to create grip than on ice. This is why basically the studded and non-studded tires perform equally on snow. It is important to have good remaining tread depth when you drive on snow and slush as the grooves will have to cope with the snow and slush. You should always check the tread depth and change to a new set of tires once you reach 5/32 inches so that you can continue driving safely. If you have studded tires it is important to drive cautiously the first month to ensure that the studs will set into the tread. You also need to check that the studs are similar on both tires and that you haven’t lost too many. More than 25% difference in studs can alter the driving experience and can cause the vehicle to over or understeer and make it difficult to control.
For more information regarding the modern winter tires that can handle snow and ice, visit: https://www.nokiantires.com/