Some places are not cold enough to have regular ice and flurry accumulation, and the precipitation melts because the ground never freezes. In these areas there is more need for a wet traction tire than a winter tread, although many new models are designed to appropriate for both. Many borderline areas do experience occasional bad snows, and some people want to be prepared.
For people living in places like New England and North Dakota, the ground freezes and flakes stick around. These are regions where it pays to have winter-ready treads, either an entirely specialized set or a dual-purpose model which sacrifices some fuel efficiency for additional griping power.
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Dedicated winter treads are noisy and less efficient on asphalt, but will grip snow very well. Switching out tires is important if there is a lot of snow on the road, and a person can expect to experience both snows and wet slush. Since the action of driving on a busy road will compact and melt snow, the frequency of slush is high and dangerous.
Many people complain that switching out their wheels costs money. This is not true if a person has a garage and a jack and has the strength to lift heavy rubber. It pays to keep the car in the garage during winter months for this reason. In some places there is so much traffic, even on bad lanes, that it pays to own a dedicated set. They will provide the needed traction, even if they are a pain on a dry road.
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