Snow socks, nets or chains?

November 20th, 2013

So, Winter’s well on its way here. Snow’s on the roads this morning with the first of the closures through too much snow. Orange alert for some areas today giving some fun for travellers. Winter driving? Help comes in either snow socks, nets or the good ‘ol classic snow chains.

Without trying to give too much of a lesson about driving on snow, winter or snow tyres aren’t just for snow, they work better in cold weather too. Yes, an expensive addition to your garage but, don’t forget when your winter tyres are fitted, your summer ones aren’t getting worn down (think about it). The grip you get from these bad boys is amazing and you don’t have to stop, nor drive slower. Don’t be convinced that your London stylee 4×4 will necessarily cut the mustard over here. When you need something to get you out, you need something substantial.

Nets? I had a pair…..once, never again. They had a lifespan of about 3 minutes. Seriously, even if there was a fault in the manufacturing, you wouldn’t want that mess up around the track rod and stub-axle would you? Especially when it’s 15cms deep and -10°.

Socks? They’re Ok until your tyres spin (especially when ice is around) when they disintegrate very quickly indeed due to them being made of fabric. Easy to put on but also that means that they’re easy to come off too. A cheaper option than chains if that swings it for you.

Chains? Yes the way to go, and the only way to go if you really need substance. Ok, they cost more than the others and it takes a little bit of time to get used to putting them on but when they’re on they’ll cut through ice to get you out. When you’re stuck at 45° across they road, sometimes chains will be the only thing that’ll do it for you. Me, personally, I’d rather spend more cash, and learn how to put them on. With practice, they take (seriously) about 2 minutes per wheel to put on.

In the Aosta Valley in Italy, it’s the law to have snow tyres fitted between mid October and May, be warned. In France, you must be ‘equipped’. You don’t have to have snow tyres on, but if you have an accident and you don’t have chains on and your tyres aren’t correct, you are liable for a fine. A one-time colleague rolled her car 20 metres from her house on her way to get her tyres changed over. Car smashed, pride hurt, snow tyres flying around in car and she was lumped with a fine. Seems a bit harsh eh?

Buy whatever you opt for in the UK, know how to use them (practice at home) and don’t be embarrassed to use them. Shiny bonnets and grills don’t look too shiny when they’ve hit a wall nor clever when your motor rocks up at home in the UK on the back of a breakdown truck.

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