Winter driving got a little less scary for me thanks to the Bridgestone Blizzak tires. As part of the #TalkTires blogger experience in Denver, Colorado I got a quick education on the need for improving my odds of staying safe this winter.
Let me back up a bit. Last winter, our trusty CRV skidded on the bottom of a hill on black ice and hit a fence. It was a slow-mo slide and no one was hurt (except for the CRV--$2500 of damage). We didn't have winder tires on the car. According to Bridgestone, neither does 85% of the population in the north. Yikes.
Why winter tires? Well, they act entirely different in winter conditions than regular tires. They act differently because they are made differently.
All season tires get cold and can't grip the road well below 40 degrees. The Bridgestone team revealed a truth--many people think having a big 'ole SUV will keep them safe in winter conditions. Here's the deal: your SUV may go really well AT FIRST but your all weather tires will not help you stop or turn on ice. All season tires are made of a compound that becomes harder in winter. That makes them lose traction in the cold. Winter tires are made to perform in sub 40 temperatures. How? Winter tires need: tread depth, tread pattern, and special tread compound ("black magic").
Bridgestone goes to great lengths to test tires--as far as Scandinavia for winter testing. We didn't have to go that far. We jumped on a bus and headed to the Pepsi Center to simulate extreme conditions drive on the ice that the Denver . Check it out:
We got to compare all-season and winter tires. Big difference. I could barely get the all-season going and the stopping distance was much longer. Now you know a little of what the tires can do. Now don't you want to know how they were made? What's the magic that makes them go on the slippery stuff?
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To get answers, the bloggers headed to the Denver to see some pretty inspiring animals. We visited the polar bears and the gecko.
Let's start with the bear. The polar bear is blessed with large paws that act like snow tires. He's got small papillae on his paws, which increase friction between the foot and the ice. Polar bears swim about 5 miles per hour, they aren't going to catch seals by swimming--they need to pounce! That requires good grip.
The scientists at Bridgestone also studied the feet of the gecko to find out how this animals distribute pressure evenly. They have unique polymers on their bodies. The gecko's lamellae and setae on the feet help it create an incredibly strong molecular grip.
It wasn't just animals--they Bridgestone team also developed a multi-cell compound on the tires that act like a sponge that helps the tire get closer to the road. All the science is what Bridgestone likes to call "black magic." Not all rubber is created equal! Find out more here www.bridgestonetire.com/tire-brand/blizzak
I was convinced. The new Blizzak proved it's worth on the ice and in the presentation. Want to know where to get your tires? To fill the bloggers in on tires, Bridgestone and Tire Rack teamed up. We heard from Matt Edmonds Tire Rack VP with 35 years experience studying tires. Matt filled us in on Tire Rack's business--they are started serving car enthusiasts and have broadened their reach to help anyone who wants great tires and great service. Matt said tire testing is the key to their business model. The Tire Rack HQ in South Bend, IN even has a test track in the front yard. In addtion to the tire tests they rely heavily on consumer feedback--they have 2.4 billion miles of data gathered. Head here to find out more www.tirerack.com
This is not a sponsored post. Bridgestone and Tire Rack paid for the travel to the event. All opinions are my own.