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Time For Winter Socks?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives

Time For Winter Socks?

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
November 7, 2013


Socks
Over the last few years much has been made about the use of winter tyres during the cold season. In general, reviews have been good and the overall opinion seems to be that they are a good thing. Put simply, they are made of a softer compound which provides more grip in bad weather, including snow

One of the problems with modern society is choice; there’s too much of it. These days we can buy summer tyres, winter tyres and three-season tyres - they all have their good and bad points. Some tyres perform better in the wet, for example, but most tyres perform poorly on snow and ice which is why we skid and get stuck at the roadside and so on.

There is, however, an over-riding snag for many people interested in winter tyres and that’s cost. If you change your regular tyres for winter rubber then you’ll probably have to pay someone to do it for you. You may need to pay for storage if you don’t have a garage or suitable storage space. Then, of course, you have to pay to put your regular tyres back on. Alternatively, you’ll need to buy a second set of wheels which means it’s easier to change them over yourself. A decent set of steel wheels will probably serve if you can’t run to alloys. Whatever, it’s going to cost a lot, but at least it should be a long term investment.

In the UK, whilst we do occasionally get white-out conditions, we mostly suffer from occasional bouts of snowy or icy weather. People in Scandinavian countries must laugh out loud when they see how badly our infrastructure copes in a couple of inches of the white stuff and how little we learn from the event.

Usually the advice is straightforward - don’t go out in your car.

Still, there are alternatives for ordinary motorists for whom winter tyres are simply too expensive - snow chains and snow socks. Snow chains have been a round almost since the birth of the automobile and they work. In fact, in some European countries they are mandatory on winter snow. They don’t take up much room in the boot and are preferable to being stranded. They can be a bit tricky to fit (practice before the bad weather comes) and they don’t make for a comfy drive, but they do provide vital grip. Chains are available at all prices but, as ever, you probably get what you pay for.

Possibly the best option for the odd occasion that most will experience are snow socks. They work fairly well, are cheap at around £40-50 a pair and fit very simply in minutes on the driving wheels. Stretch the technical fabric over the wheel as much as possible, roll the car back a bit to allow fitment to the rest of tyre and the job’s done. They are self-seating, easy to remove and washable. They must always be removed as soon as the wheels hit tarmac otherwise they will wear out very quickly.

DriveWrite is convinced. We’ve splashed out on some Bottari Snow Socks. They come recommended and are black and yellow. That’s about all we can say because we must await the arrival of the white stuff to test them out. Bottari are an Italian brand who have thoughtfully asked a first year English student at some remote EU funded academy to translate the instructions. Fortunately there are pictures. Not that it matters because now that we have forked out for the things it will never snow again.

Safety is crucial and especially so when the snow falls. There is no excuse for not making preparations. Winter tyres, chains or a set of excellent winter socks tucked in the boot will all help to keep you safe on snow and ice.



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