The holidays are wonderful. They can also be stressful.
The good: special times with family and friends. The bad: all the travel in between. The ugly: when winter roads become snowy and icy, turning a joyful journey into a jittery one.
Fortunately, your safety this season is partially under your control. By following these three tips, you'll increase your chances of safely navigating any winter wonderland.
1. Make sure you're driving the right set of tires
The best way to stay safe on the roads this holiday season: choosing the right tires to guide your journey.
While many drivers use all-season tires year-round, that's not the safest choice in most areas of the United States. Once temperatures drop below 45 degrees, all-season tires harden and lose a lot of their grip. They also aren't equipped to handle snow and ice.
The answer: buying a set of winter or all-weather tires. Winter tires are perfect for areas that experience consistent and/or severe winter weather. Drivers who install them during the colder months are protecting themselves against winter's worst.
For drivers who face unpredictable winter conditions, all-weather tires are a great choice. Unlike all-season tires, all-weather products are approved for winter use. Unlike winter tires, drivers can use them year-round. For that reason, they're also a great choice for people who are traveling north for the holidays.
Nokian Tyres invented winter and all-weather tires and strongly recommends their use this time of year.
"Families who are traveling for the holidays shouldn't have to worry about staying safe on the road," said Nokian Tyres Director of Products and Pricing Steve Bourassa. "Premium winter and all-weather tires provide peace of mind to help drivers and their families enjoy this special time of year."
2. Stay deep and keep the pressure high
During the holidays, there's high pressure to get to your destination safely. For that reason, there should also be high pressure in each of your tires.
Properly inflated tires have stronger grip and are less prone to blowouts. They also improve gas mileage by decreasing friction where the rubber meets the road.
But your tires' inflation level requires extra attention this time of year: Each 10-degree drop in temperature can cause your tires to lose as much as 1 psi of pressure. That's why you'll sometimes see your dashboard's tire light glow on a cold morning.
"Tires are designed to be used at their optimal inflation level," says Bourassa. "Look on your driver's-side door jamb or in your owner manual to find the recommended pressure level for your vehicle's tires, then keep them inflated throughout the season."
If you're traveling to a colder climate or at higher elevation, it is worth considering increasing the inflation pressure by 2-to-3 psi to help offset environmental changes.
While you're at it, take a look at your tires' tread depth, which is vital for sturdy traction. Use the penny test to measure how much tread you've got left; if you can see Abraham Lincoln's head when you're holding the penny upside down inside the tread, it's time for new tires.
3. Get rotated and aligned
The holidays can wear on all of us. Holiday driving should wear evenly on our tires.
That means it's important to get your tires rotated and check your alignment if you haven't done so in a while. Nokian Tyres recommends rotating your tires every 4,000 to 6,000 miles to make sure they're wearing the right way. Uneven tire wear can lead to unpredictable - and potentially unsafe - performance.
Be sure to visit your local tire shop to check your rotation and alignment before hitting the road for the holidays. https://www.nokiantires.com/where-to-buy/dealer-locator/ to find a high-quality tire dealer near you.
You don't need a reindeer with a red nose to travel as safely as possible this holiday season. You simply need to buy the right set of tires and keep a close eye on their maintenance. Then, you'll be able to eliminate an area of stress and bask in the most wonderful time of the year.
For more information on premium tires crafted for the winter season, visit NokianTires.com/Snow-Tires.