With winter on the horizon and snow beginning to fall in many areas around the country already, motorists should make sure they are aware of the dangers of driving recklessly on the slick roads. Bridgestone Americas, the world's largest tire and rubber company, recently suggested ways that motorists can make it through the winter and reduce their chances of having an accident.

Bridgestone encouraged travelers to make sure they have their cars prepared for winter weather and that they brush up on their driving skills before the snow hits harder than it already has.

"Winter driving can be intimidating and hazardous, and is something that you really do need to prepare for," said Anant Gandhi, product manager for winter tires at Bridgestone Americas. "It's not just about having the right equipment; it's also important that drivers understand how to respond correctly to various winter hazards. We all have a responsibility to make sure we prepare not just our vehicles, but also ourselves." 

Bridgestone and the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, suggested that if you can see your breath, it's time to switch to winter tires. When the temperatures are approaching freezing levels, all-season or high-performance tires should be switched to winter tires. Winter tires provide better traction, as unique polymers and tread pattern elements work together to provide drivers with greater control during the season.

The traction on tires should be checked periodically when there are challenging conditions to drive in. Since road conditions can change drastically in a small amount of time, the brakes should be applied with moderate pressure to determine the available grip on the road. Drivers should respond to the ever-changing conditions and make sure they are prepared for all possible circumstances.

"One of the most important factors in starting, steering, or stopping on ice and snow is your tires," said Mark Cox, director of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. "It doesn't make a difference if you have front-wheel, all-wheel or rear-wheel drive, your vehicle will perform better in most winter driving conditions if it is equipped with purpose-built winter tires on both the front and rear wheels."

Drivers should also maximize their grip on the roads by separating driving maneuvers when negotiating a curve. Brakes should be applied at an appropriate speed while traveling when there's a possibility of ice or snow covering the roads.

Bridgestone also suggests avoiding cruise control in wet, icy or snowy conditions, as maintaining a hold on the steering wheel and speed is of significant importance during the time winter conditions.

If driving conditions become too bad while maneuvering around the roads, motorists should pull over to ensure their safety. Keeping cars filled with at at least a half tank of fuel at all times during the winter is encouraged because drivers could get stuck in a snowstorm, which might tack hours onto a short commute.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association in the US and the Rubber Association of Canada developed the mountain/snowflake symbol that is found on the tire's sidewall to designate the tires have the newest severe snow standards.

Goodyear earns recognition
Goodyear also has dependable tires that would be great for any season. The tire manufacturer was recently named as one of the greenest companies in America, showing its commitment to sustainability.

"One of Goodyear's shared values is caring for our environment and communities," said Don Stanley, vice president of product quality and plant technology.  "Our commitment to environmental programs and sustainability reflects what's important to us.  We are seeing the results of that commitment and are being more transparent about our sustainability goals, programs, and accomplishments."