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Snow Tires: Helpful or Harmful?

As many are aware, Chicago has been known for its long and trying winters, with months of brisk winds and horizontal sleet that seem to last forever. Who doesn’t recall the “Snowmageddon” of 2011, and all of the cars stuck and stranded in their evening commute on Lake Shore Drive? Even though Illinois may not be as far north as our neighboring states, winter tires are often a consideration for those who do a lot of driving in the greater Chicago area during these winter months.

Many people, understandably, may question winter tires’ worth. Are they worth the extra cost? Are they worth the hassle of changing your vehicle’s tires for the season? Do they really help you be that much safer, or are winter hazards simply unavoidable? Weighing the opinions and testimony of northerly and at-home neighbors may help.

Having the right tires could prevent fatal rollover crashes. Areas that are more consistently snowy and slippery on the roads have done more research on snow and winter tires. For instance, after a fatal rollover accident, the coroner’s report concluded that the Jeep had the wrong tires, which contributed to the driver’s death. Losing control on a slippery curve caused the vehicle to hit a concrete barrier, flip over it, and roll into the nearby lake upside-down.

According to CBC News, Transport Canada recommends winter tires for those who drive consistently in winter conditions. They claim that in cold weather, summer tires harden and lose their grip on the road, and adding ice and snow into the mix makes this grip even worse, causing skidding. Furthermore, it is important to make sure tires are inflated properly. A drop in temperature can result in under-inflation.

Others make the argument that snow tires do more harm than good. According to one article that cites the Alaska Dispatch, some Swedish researchers are making the argument that winter tires are actually more harmful than beneficial. The same article explains that the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter released an article in which two medical researchers argue that winter tires rarely have a significant impact on driving safety, but they do cause extreme harm to the environment. The researchers also state that the tires release particles in the air that cause cardiac, pulmonary, and vascular diseases.

When weighing out all the pros and cons of whether to purchase winter tires, it is wise to do thorough research to find the best tires available. Good winter tires will provide traction for your vehicle and at the same time will contain the least amount of studs and extra rubber that could be harmful for you and the environment.

If during these winter months, you or someone close to you is seriously injured in an accident caused by someone else’s poor judgment or careless behavior near our Windy City of Chicago, you should seek the help an experienced accident attorneys. Most law firms that represent plaintiffs in injury lawsuits offer free consultations, so talk to someone soon after your accident to protect your rights.