Des Moines, Iowa (NAPSI) - Safety on the road is important all year-round, but the winter weather calls for extra caution behind the wheel.

That’s why many auto safety experts, such as Discount Tire,America’s largest tire and wheel retailer, urge motorists to switch to tires specifically designed for cold weather driving. Winter tires are designed for driving in temperatures of 45 degrees or below and if there’s any chance you’ll encounter snow, ice and wet roads on a consistent basis.

All-season tires that are commonly used during warmer months contain a rubber compound that gradually hardens when temperatures dip below 45 degrees. This results in decreased road traction. These tires also tend to collect winter road debris like snow and ice that can affect the vehicle’s performance.

Winter tires, on the other hand, are made with higher silica content to stay flexible when it’s cold out and provide better traction than all-season tires in these conditions. The superior traction that winter tires deliver can be as much as 25 to 50 percent more than all-season tires’ in cold temperatures. Their tread blocks’ design also includes thousands of very small slits—known as sipes—to provide extra road-biting edges for improved winter traction.

“Every aspect of a winter tire has been engineered to channel away road debris and provide better traction in winter driving conditions,” said Mark Ballard of Discount Tire.

This traction advantage can provide the margin of safety you need to stop in time or avoid trouble.

What the Pros Do in Winter:

• Replace your all-season tires with winter tires for driving in temperatures of 45 degrees or below. Make sure to replace all four tires with winter tires to avoid an unsafe traction mismatch.

• Check tire inflation pressure regularly and don’t forget the spare. Underinflated or over-inflated tires may result in poor handling, uneven tread wear or poor fuel consumption.

• Rotate your tires at least every 6,000 miles or earlier if irregular or uneven wear develops.

• Make sure the tire shop that does your work torques the lug nuts to the proper specifications for your vehicle.

For further facts about winter tire safety or to find a Discount Tire store, visit