purchase, george & murphey.

purchase, george & murphey.

The Top Three Questions About Snow Tires

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The Top Three Questions About Snow Tires: Or Why Snow Tires Are a Must in Pennsylvania Winter

You may be wondering, “Should I get snow tires this year? Geez, with all these holiday expenses, can I afford to get snow tires?” Well, our advice as Erie accident lawyers is an unqualified, “Yes!” Here are three of the most frequently asked questions about snow tires, as well as our answers.

For people in northwestern Pennsylvania, snow tires are a recurring concern this time of year. As we ready ourselves for the annual onslaught of snow and ice, many wonder, “Should I get snow tires this year? Can I afford them with Christmas expenses coming up?”

As Erie injury lawyers who’ve handled hundreds of winter accident cases, we absolutely think you should get snow tires because your safety may depend on it. Here, we answer the three most frequently asked questions about snow tires.

What Makes Snow Tires Different from Regular Tires?

The two qualities that separate snow tires from other tires are tread and material. The tread of a snow tire is a deeper, chunkier tread that allows the tire to dig into snow and ice for better traction. Just as important, the material of the snow tire is a softer rubber that resists stiffening under cold conditions and that allows the tread of the tire to mold to the road surface, further enhancing grip/traction.

Many people think of snow tires as offering the principal advantage of helping to avoid getting stuck — and this they do. But more important, in our view, is the increased opportunity for steering and stopping that snow tires offer winter drivers. Always important in accident avoidance, the ability to control and stop your car is particularly important in light of the enhanced accident-avoidance technology on today’s cars, like anti-lock brakes and electronic steering control. This technology depends on good traction with the road surface.

I Have All-Season Tires. Aren’t These Tires Good Enough?

All-season tires are designed to handle multiple weather conditions adequately but do a particularly good job at none of them. The all-season tire has less tread depth and grip and is made of material that isn’t as soft as a winter tire and so tends to harden and lose grip. Because of the harshness of winter conditions in northwestern Pennsylvania, we have no reservations in recommending a winter tire.

Can I Get Away with Just Two Snow Tires?

A lot of people, and a lot of snow tire dealers, recommend putting just two snow tires on the car — on the drive wheels. The theory is that the drive wheels are what is important in getting the car to go and, if your goal is not to get stuck, then that’s where the snow tires need to be.

Snow tire dealers would prefer to sell you four tires, obviously. But many of them are worried that the cost will preclude you from buying at all and they’d rather sell two than none.

Our recommendation is that you buy all four. (No, we don’t own a tire store, nor do we own stock in a snow tire manufacturer.) We don’t want you to get stuck, but, more importantly, we want you to have every advantage in avoiding an accident. If your snow tires are only on the drive wheels (on today’s cars, usually the front wheels), then your other wheels will have less traction — which can lead to diminished stopping power or, even worse, lack of control of one end of your car.


In Erie, Crawford, Warren, Mercer, Venango, Forest, and the other counties of northwestern Pennsylvania, snow and ice are the dominant road feature for three to four months of every year. Getting through that season without injury ought to be a motorist’s primary goal and snow tires will maximize your odds. Plus, they’ll help you avoid getting stuck at the end of the driveway! Consider heading to your tire dealer today.

If you or someone in your family would like to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Erie injury lawyers, call today toll free at 814-273-2010.