Winter driving: Why you shouldn’t wait on snow tires

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Storm Team 8 is forecasting a likely sudden flip to cold and snowy weather in the next few weeks.

Tire shops are busy, and they will be even more once the snow starts to fall with customers shopping for snow tires.

“It always seems like that first snowfall we are booked and we usually book out about two weeks in advance once the snow hits,” said Lynsey Bartnick, retail sales manager at Schneider Tire Outlet in Marne.

>>2016-2017 winter weather outlook

Last winter started slow due to a record warm December.

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And because it was so warm, snowfall by the first of the year only measured six inches.

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From Nov. 24 to Dec. 28 last year, West Michigan went 36 consecutive days with less than an inch of snow. It’s looking increasingly more likely this December will take a hard turn into cold and snow, and changing your tread could give you a big advantage during your winter commute.

“People should know that snow tires do make a difference,” Bartnick said.

Scientifically, they do. Snow tires are made to physically grip the road better in the cold, regardless if there is snow or not.

“The snow tires are a softer compound so they are going to grip up at 40 degrees and below, and they are going to grip to the road better,” Barnick explains.

If you were to try and stop at an intersection, snow tires would allow you to stop 20 percent faster compared to all-season tires. Tire shops say there is only a limited supply of snow tires, so it’s smart to schedule an appointment soon. As a reminder, you can store your all season tires and have them put back on next spring, extending the life of both sets.

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