Paying attention to road conditions and weather can help ensure safe travels. Snow and wet weather require extra attention and quick response while driving. Driving too fast on wet roads, through standing water, or in the rain can cause your tires to hydroplane. This means that your tires travel on a film of water rather than contacting the road. After a dry spell, rain can further reduce traction from oil and other substances that have collected on the roadway. In addition, leaves can hide moisture on a road surface, even long after the rain has stopped. When roads are wet, slow down and drive carefully.
Obviously, it's best not to hit potholes or objects in the road, so avoid them and other hazards in the road. But if you can't avoid them, remember that the faster you are going when you hit something, the greater the impact on your tires, so slow down as much as you can without endangering yourself or others.
If you can’t avoid a pothole, don’t apply the brakes when you hit it. Instead, apply them as you approach the hole, and release them just before striking it. This slows you down, but allows the tire to roll as it hits, softening the impact. If you hit an object or hole, have your tires checked by a professional. Such collisions can cause internal tire damage that you can’t see — but which can cause problems later on. Sometimes, a tire can be severely damaged and travel hundreds or even thousands of miles before failing. A vibration or rough ride may be a sign of such damage — and that it is time for a replacement.
Remember that tires lose pressure when the air temperature gets colder (about 1 psi or 7 kPa for every 10°F drop in temperature). Tires may also lose a certain amount of pressure due to their permeability (about 2 psi or 14 kPa per month).
Never reduce tire pressures in an attempt to increase traction on snow or ice. It does not work, and your tires will be more susceptible to damage from underinflation. In snowy areas, some locations may have “snow emergency” regulations that are invoked during heavy snowfalls. Check with authorities for the rules in your area. Under some rules, motorists are subject to fines if they block traffic and do not have snow tires on their vehicles. Slow down and drive carefully in all winter conditions.
Mountain-Snowflake Symbol – Tires designed for use in severe snow conditions generally have tread patterns, structure, and materials to give superior performance. These tires are marked with the mountain-snowflake symbol, along with the “M+S” designation.
Chains – Make sure chains are the proper size and type for your tires, otherwise they may damage the tire sidewall and cause tire failure. If you have dual tires on your vehicle, particular care must be taken to assure adequate clearance between loaded tires to avoid damage from chains. Consult a tire service professional for proper application.