Blizzaks are probably the best for actual snow driving. They are a softer tire and may wear faster during dry conditions. That said, I'm running xice2 on the g now. They're ok in the snow but not excellent. Stopping/starting is fine, but turning has to be done with care.
Also, unless things have changed, only the first 50% of the tire is winter compound, 2nd half is all season.
Most comments are general, direct replies in Bold
True in '92 when I got my first and only Blizzaks gen 1, I don't know about current gen.
I used them on a RWD 300E with incredible show/ice performance.
I didn't like the all season component of the Blizzak at all. It was a great snow tire and a poor all season tire. Very spooky hydroplaning on wet spring time roads, no ice or snow at which point I dumped them and subsequent snow tires are 100% snow tires, none of this 50/50 yang.
I got rid of Altimax Arctics last year not because of tread but because they hit 8 years old (should change at 5-6 years).
You sound like my dad (a compliment)
\I have been driving for 61 years, 34 years in Toronto Area, 27 years in BC (Comox) In all of those years I have NEVER had snow or M/S tires.
Given the years you will realize that a whole lot was on rear wheel drive cars, Did I have problems sometimes?
Sure, but I also saw 4x4 trucks and SUVs in the ditches as I drove by.
I am not trying to say that snow tires are not better under some conditions, but knowing your vehicles/your limits
will enable you to get through a lot of times, especially with our front wheel drives.
Most winters at the first snowfall I would go to a local parking lot and stop/turn to get the memory back of driving on snow/ice. Just do it away from light standards.
. I'm in my 26th Ohio winter and would have agreed with you 15 years ago.
I now live up a 10% grade 1 mile long. Regardless of skill and experience, one does not simply go up on all seasons and FWD or RWD. I can't count the number of cars I have driven around sitting and spinning wheels (usually FWD. People with RWD have brains enough to not try). These have occurred before the police set up the usual road block until the sand/salt plows come out. Once the trucks come out, I can go up in my RWD '05 300C with crappy Continental tires and not miss a beat.
My situation is unique. We had our first half inch 4 days ago and ironically, I was coming from Discount Tire with my Nokian Nordmans mounted up on the Tire Rack steelies and Mopar TPMS in the back of the van. I struggled mightily to make it up the hill and barely made it just like my '05 Ody which was my first FWD ever with snow tires
(thanks hill). For many years, I told people "I live in Ohio and FWD and all season tires are fine, you don't need snow tires" I have not made that statement in nearly 15 years.
Did I "need" snow tires to make it up my hill 4 days ago? No, I made it because of my expert skill and experience but with a bit more snow (ahead of the plows and salt), I would not have made it just like all those other cars I've driven by over the years. I had to back down a different hill in the Ody many years ago which prompted my purchase of snow tires.
Once the contact patch is lost, they all handle the same.
IMO it's a combination of the two, knowing how your car handles and having the proper equipment. The former is actually more of a last resort kinda thing, as in "just in case my car spins out of control." Having the proper tires and just a bit of common sense help you avoid that trouble in the first place. Besides, when you can't climb up a snowy hill in a car with all-season tires, that has very little to do with skills, unless car pushing counts as a skill.
A thing to note is that most British Columbians lack the proper equipment and the skills, since we rarely ever see snow, so unless you are from a different province, it can easily catch people off guard.
So what you're saying is, I can slap winter tires on my Camaro and be on my merry way!
Yes. I did it in my '87 300E without TCS, ESP, or limited slip. I drove in blizzard conditions on Blizzaks from Columbus to Cleveland and on to Richmond with snow packed on the highway. I finally drove out of the snow when I hit Fredericksburg (50 miles north of Richmond). It drove like an AWD. In Richmond where it had snowed, I pulled out of a Blockbuster parking lot which had a steep incline and packed snow. I was blown away with the ability of this "awful car in the snow" to churn up and out of that parking lot but considering its performance over nearly 600 miles in the snow on the freeway, I was not really surprised.
Yes. Be light on the gas and you will be fine.
Easier said than done.
BTW, nice signature. I really hate you now.
Easy with snow tires and still be light on the gas. Just don't be over confident like the AWD idiots that wind up on their roofs.
One must have patience and experience driving in inclement weather before it's second nature. Practice in parking lots during snow storms helped a lot.
Ice is no respector of patience, experience, or skill. Having driven a couple times at Mid Ohio in the skid car, if you lose the contact patch, you're gone, even with skills. The only things that bite into the ice are chains, studs, and snow tires.
If one is not a jerk, one can do pretty well with all seasons (I have) but ice is the great equalizer of the skilled and unskilled.
There is a reason certain areas of CO, CA, etc. require chains before entering the pass. Even "snow" tires aren't allowed without chains. So much for all that patience and skill. Of course, that is in jest and these are the extremes as is my 10% hill.
While most don't drive at the extremes, it's the extremes that send you across the double yellow, into a fence, or make you sit still on a hill. Snow tires are superior to any all seasons tire in the extremes. If the conditions are mild with light flurries, it matters not about the tires much like my hill after the salt, sand, and plow.
Being patient and using your head is extremely important but they can't defy the laws of physics. Snow tires can't either but they offer a tremendous increase in traction, grip, cornering, and braking. One still has to be patient even with snow tires (and AWD) or you'll wind up bouncing off the Armco wondering why your snow tires failed.
I'd like to invite all of you to my hill for the next snow and test your skills with your FWD and all seasons tires (you have to get here before the police block the road and before the plows hit the area).