Winter Traction Facts

We believe the following statements are facts. Understanding them should help any driver operate a vehicle in winter conditions with greater safety and security.



“Traction” is taken for granted when operating modern vehicles under normal driving conditions, even if the road surface is wet. They simply go, stop and corner as we expect them to.

Traction results from the points of contact between the vehicle and the road surface. Rubber tyres produce traction through friction when the rubber makes contact with hard, paved surfaces. A combination of constantly improving compounds and tread designs have made modern all-season radials remarkably effective at producing this friction on wet or dry roads.

When snow or ice cover the roadway, traction can’t be taken for granted anymore because the tyres are prevented from making contact with the pavement, and contact between rubber and ice crystals doesn’t produce much friction.

Anti-lock brakes (ABS), all-wheel drive (AWD) and traction control systems manage the speed of the wheel (relative to the road surface) to maximize friction. ABS won’t allow tyres to “lock-up” during braking and traction control won’t allow the driven tyres to “spin” under power, but both types of systems are dependent on the amount of traction that’s available to be managed in the first place.



The most effective way of producing traction on ice and snow-covered roads is leverage. In other words, the tyre (or something firmly attached to the tyre) must penetrate the frozen surface so that the rotation of the tyres can influence the direction and speed of the vehicle.

Snow tyres (or even all-season radials) can work well in new or “powdery” snow because rubber is harder than snow and the aggressive tread is capable of penetrating the surface.

On hard-packed snow or ice, conventional snow tyres do not give much useable traction because they can’t penetrate the surface. In this case, “studded” snow tyres will work noticeably better than tyres without studs.

All-season radial tyres equipped with any of SCC’s winter traction products will produce more traction on ice or snow-covered roads than any snow tyre or studded snow tyre. This is simply because the steel cross members penetrate the frozen surface deeper and wider than any type of snow tyre, producing more leverage.



The most difficult and dangerous aspects of winter driving are braking and cornering. Nearly any modern passenger vehicle can “go” on snowy roads; it’s the inability to maintain control while braking and cornering that causes most accidents and injuries.

Any vehicle equipped with SCC winter traction products will be capable of greater performance on ice and snow-covered roads than it would be if it were not so equipped. This includes vehicles equipped with studded snow tyres, all-wheel drive (AWD), anti-lock brakes (ABS) or any type of traction control system.

Control will always be better with traction products mounted on ALL tyres than it will be if they are only mounted on some of the tyres.



With basically all type of vehicles (passenger cars, light trucks, trucks and buses) there is one industry trend: vehicle manufacturers leave less and less space for the operation of traction products.

With many vehicles whose owner’s manuals state that no traction products can be used, SCC products will operate safely and satisfactorily.

Always look in your owner’s manual to see whether it places any restrictions on the use of snow chains. Many vehicles look like they have lots of space while in reality they have limited clearance.