Winter tire in the snow

Tips For Buying Winter Tires

Updated November 1, 2019 . AmFam Team

Winter is coming, make sure your vehicle is prepared with good snow tires. Read our tips and tactics to help you find the best winter tires for your ride when the flakes start to fly.

The best winter tires have a strong grip, comfortable ride, dependable durability and at least a five-year warranty. If you know these four buying basics, you’re ahead of the game. But what else should you know before you navigate the snow?

Here are some tips and tactics to help you find the best winter tires for your ride when the flakes start to fly.


5 Tips for Choosing the Best Winter Tires

Buying the right tires for winter driving is key to your safety — and the safety of others. Follow our five tips for selecting the best winter tires for your ride:

Look for the logo

Did you know that winter tires are marked by a special logo to indicate they’ve been designed to meet specific snow-traction performance requirements? It’s true. Just look for the three-peaked mountain with the snowflake inside. See the logo? You’re good to go-go!

Buy tires early

The best time to buy winter tires isn't after the first big snowfall, or your first big spinout. Retailers start stocking the shelves with these tough-treaded slip-resistors when fall rolls around. But they sell fast, so go get a set before all the good ones are gone!

Always buy four tires

You might think that two winter tires will do, but when you’re at the tire store, always buy four. Because when two wheels grip and two don’t, your vehicle is more likely to slide around and spin out. Before you buy, take a look at these tips on how to find the right tire size for your car.

Include the tire install

Ask your favorite tire shop if they’ll include the installation in the price of the tire. If not, plan on spending about $10 to $20 per tire for mounting and balancing.

Change your tires with the seasons

Remember to change your tires when the snow melts. Much like all-season tires aren’t built for the winter, winter tires aren’t made for summer roads. The softer (but extra-grippy) rubber wears out faster — and hot, dry roads can take a toll.

When the rubber hits the road, it’s all about safety and control. The right tires can keep you and your dreams moving on down the road, even when that road is covered in snow. Speaking of moving down the road, check out how you can get better winter gas mileage by following these simple tricks.

Not only is it important to plan ahead to stay safe on the road, but your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) can help make sure your auto insurance is doing all it can to protect you from the unexpected as well. Want to make your car even more winter-ready? Check out these helpful tips on how to properly winterize your car.

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    Checking social media

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    Eating behind the wheel

    You may be a pro at eating your burrito on the go, but ingesting your lunch while driving is a big no-no. All it takes is one wayward waffle fry to take your attention from the road to your lap. And it’s not just the mess that distracts; it’s the smell, taste, you name it – that makes eating one of the most distracting things you can do while driving.

    Other types of distracted driving

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    • Taking selfies
    • Talking on the phone
    • Drinking coffee or another beverage
    • Putting on makeup
    • Using an app
    • Loud music

    Top 5 Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

    There are easy ways to prevent distracted driving. Try using making these five simple changes distracted driving safety tips to have a safer driving experience.

    Use a text-blocking app

    There are many apps available that block texts while driving. Several apps exist with different features, ranging from ones that completely block any incoming or outgoing texts while going a certain speed, to apps that will send a message saying you’re unavailable to respond to an incoming text. Here’s a list from DMV.org with great suggestions for apps to fight distracted driving.

    Have a passenger navigate for you

    If you’re driving with a passenger (of an appropriate age), hand the directions to them. Even a not-so-great navigator in the passenger seat is better than the person behind the wheel being responsible for both driving and navigating. If you’re driving by yourself, take the time to look at the directions before you set off. Then turn the volume up and let the AI lead the way.

    Make music selection easy

    Make multiple playlists that you can choose from before starting the car. If you really need to change it up, either pull over or wait for a red light. Set your presets to stations you already know you like. Hitting one button is better than cranking the dial until you find music you like.

    Don’t text while driving

    If you’re behind the wheel, just put the phone away. Social media can wait. It’s not going anywhere — that we can promise. Are the notifications too tempting? Turn them off! No comment or new tweet is worth the risk.

    Eat at home or while stopped

    If you’re in a rush and want to keep things moving, consider the hazards of driving while eating behind the wheel. Hopefully you can recognize that the risks outweigh the temptation, and you can wait until you get to your destination to eat.

     

    How Does Distracted Driving Affect Insurance?

    For starters, getting into an at-fault accident will almost always make your insurance premium go up, simply because your insurance company now deems you a higher-risk driver. Distracted driving is no exception. Even if you avoid an accident but you get a ticket for distracted driving, you’re susceptible to those increases in insurance.

    Why does distracted driving increase insurance? For starters, you may be getting a discount for having a clean driving record. But if you get a ticket, such as for texting while driving, you may no longer be eligible for that discount, and you’ll notice an increase in your premium. Another reason your insurance might go up goes back to being a higher risk. If you’re guilty of distracted driving, an insurance company will consider you a high-risk driver (meaning you’re more likely to file a claim due to an accident) and they’ll set your premiums higher.

    Many of the discounts that insurance companies give out revolve around rewarding drivers for having no claims and a good driving record in general. Don’t let distracted driving take away those perks!

    Protect Yourself From Distracted Drivers on the Road

    Avoiding distracting driving behaviors is a great way to be safe on the road, and car insurance is a great way to stay protected from the unexpected. With American Family you can customize your car coverage to meet your unique needs. Talk to your agent today to find the right coverage for you.

    The Insurance Information Institute claims driving while interacting with a mobile device can increase the odds of a crash by as much as 3.5 times, compared to the risks that a sober, alert and attentive driver faces. Teens are more susceptible to collisions, even when speaking hands-free on a mobile phone. Let’s explore the many ways you can help prevent distracted driving accidents.