Winter Driving

When it's below 44 degrees, it's tires, not ice that's the biggest hazard on the road

Pirelli has launched an education campaign to help Americans understand that they need to switch over to winter tires.

Photo by Getty Images

Hello, winter. The seasons have changed and just like that freezing rain, ice, snow, road salt, and hidden potholes have become the norm. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, winter storms, bad weather and sloppy road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter.

Pirelli is kicking off a new campaign, #Below44. The 44-day campaign aims to educated drives on why winter tires are critical for anyone who lives in an environment where the temperature regularly dips below 44 degrees.

Pirelli Winter Tires: Enjoy the bad season. Video by Pirelli

Sure, there's always going to be people out there that boast about driving their rear-wheel drive boat of a sedan on all-season tires through "Nor'easter of '75" but that doesn't mean that you should tempt fate.

Why make the switch to winter tires?

"There are two reasons why we recommend consumers who live in colder climates switch over to true winter tires," said Ian Coke, Head of R&D, Pirelli North America. "The first is because tires are made of rubber compounds that respond to extreme temperatures and become stiffer as temperatures decrease. This stiffness can significantly reduce the traction levels of the tire tread – the part of the tire that makes direct contact with the road surface – and compromise the tire's overall performance and a driver's safety. As the temperature continues to drop the performance level of the tire will also continue to be impacted."

In Canada, where winter tires are mandatory, there has been a significant reduction in serious accidents that occur during the winter driving season, AAA reports. In Montreal alone, the rate dropped 46 percent.

Pirelli Winter Tires: The winter season is not so bad. Video by Pirelli

The Pirelli Pro Guide: Winter has launched and features answers to some questions you might have rattling around in your head about winter tires and driving. There are also tips and a consumer rebate offer.

Jessica Hawkins, stunt driver, sits behind the wheel of the 2020 Land Rover Defender on the set of 'No Time to Die'.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

When James Bond knocks, you answer. Whether it's Aston Martin or Land Rover, British auto brands have been well represented in the forthcoming James Bond movie "No Time to Die".

The new Land Rover Defender 110 appears alongside Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Naomie Harris, Ralph Finnes, and Ben Whitshaw. It is featured in a change sequence that showcases the vehicle's prowess in extreme off road conditions. Behind the scenes photos of the action show stunt coordinator Lee Morrison, who has worked on Jason Bourne, Indiana Jones, and James Bond movies, and stunt driver Jessica Hawkins, who competes in the W Series, at work.

The Land Rover Defender 110 driving through thick mud during filming of "No Time to Die."

"Designing and coordinating the action sequences for the Bond franchise requires a non-compromising mindset." said Morrison. "We needed an unstoppable vehicle to help us battle against the elements, steep descents and river crossings so we chose the new Defender. I'm beyond impressed that the Defender is not only back but much, much better!"

The Defender appears alongside the Range Rover Sport SVR, Land Rover Series III, and Range Rover Classic as the Bond character, played by Craig, traverses the globe to rescue a kidnapped scientist.

Land Rover's design team worked closely with Special Effects and Action Vehicles Supervisor Chris Corbould to spec the Defender vehicles in the film. They are based on the Defender X model in Santorini Black, with darkened skid pans, 20-inch dark finish wheels, and professional off-road tires. The modes were the first Defender vehicles to be built at Jaguar Land Rover's new production facility in Nitra, Slovakia.

No Time To Die | Land Rover USA www.youtube.com

Land Rover has had a long-standing partnership with EON Productions on the Bond films, going back to 1983 when a Range Rover Convertible appeared in "Octopussy".

The Land Rover Defender 110 featured in "No Time To Die" will be on display for the first time in Los Angeles during the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. Consumers can see the vehicle at the 2019 Los Angeles International Auto Show between November 20 and December 1, 2019.

"No Time to Die" will be released starting April 2, 2020 in the U.K. and in the U.S on April 10.

The Defender 110 will be priced from $49,900 in the U.S. and will go on sale in the spring.

Snow tires and winter tires are often thought of as the same thing. They're not.

Photo by Getty Images

Not all tires are created equal, and not all tire types are the same. This isn't just true in NASCAR and F1. It's also true at your local tire shop.

Winter and snow tires are often confused as being for the same thing. Or, at least for the same season. That's not necessarily true.

The difference between tire types is more than just a tread pattern. Originally, snow tires were just winter tires with deeper tread patterns that could more easily take on snow-covered streets and trails. Chemistry and production techniques have made modern snow tires more sophisticated.

Winter tires aren't just designed to take on snow. They're designed for when conditions are below 44 degrees, the point at which road conditions start to seriously change. The tread patterns, flexibility, and density of the tire all come into play.

Today, despite that many call their winter tires "snow tires," most companies to not make a designated snow tire, instead relying on modern winter tires that are more versatile.

Drivers often leave all-season tires on their car thinking that they're in good enough shape and happy to avoid another trip to the tire shop. All-season tires are formulated to perform best when worn by your vehicle in 50 to 100 degree temperature conditions.

When it has reached 44 degrees and below outside, the materials that make up a summer or all-season tire get rigid, which impedes flexibility and grip, making them less safe.

When choosing a tire, whether it's of the winter, summer, or all-season variety, be sure to check the owner's manual of your car to determine what the recommended tire is. Automakers work closely with tire companies to develop the "perfect" tire for their vehicles.

Wondering which winter tires are best? Our friends at TFL recently tested some in the snow.

TFL: Which Snow Tire is Best? We Test Them On America's Steepest County Road! Video by TFL Car