Is it true that lowering the pressure in your tires while driving on icy and snowy roads will give you better traction?

by | Jul 30, 2010 03:29 PM ET

You Asked:

Is it true that lowering the pressure in your tires while driving on icy and snowy roads will give you better traction? --- Jeremiah, Haskell, Ark.

Marshall Brain Answers:

One thing that affects traction is the size of the "contact patch" that the tire puts on the road. If you lower the tire pressure, you increase the size of the contact patch. But you also create problems if you lower the pressure for more than a short period of time. When tires have low pressure, the sidewalls tend to heat up and the tire can roll off the rim in heavy cornering.

If you want to increase traction on icy and snowy roads, the better way to do it is to use the right tires. This video shows the dramatic difference in traction between "all season" tires and winter tires:

If it is really bad, then consider chains for the best traction possible in snow and ice:

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