Snow Tires: Chains Out, Textile in

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Driving on icy roads has been the bane of many motorists. To help them drive safely on icy or even frozen roads, the most common tool for the job is the snow chain. The metal chain bites into the frozen road to give a vehicle that extra traction.

Traction is of utmost importance since this allows the driver to control the vehicle. The use of the safety device poses some problems to users. Most notably, affixing the chain to a vehicle's tire will take a lot of effort and for the elderly who can still drive so it does look like installing the device will pose a challenge.

Another drawback to using snow chains is that a vehicle is limited to low speed since going to high speed operations may force the snow chain to break apart or damage the tire. Snow chains need to be tightened properly so that it will detach to the tire and tangle on the vehicle's axle which can cause serious damages.

For those who are looking for a better way to achieve superior traction on icy roads without having to deal with the cumbersome snow chain, the answer is in the form of the AutoSock®. This device is the product of Scandinavian ingenuity and has been inspired by older women wearing woolen socks over their shoes to provide them traction when traversing snowy paths. The AutoSock is made of textile which makes it lighter and easier to install than chains. The materials used in the construction of the device give it the ability to provide superior traction on icy roads.

On one test conducted, the AutoSock managed to give a vehicle enough traction to power the vehicle forward while its rear wheels are locked.

Gary E. Rainy, the U.S. contact for the AutoSock, has this to say about the innovative product: "We're bringing a unique, useful product to America that has been proven by hundreds of thousands of drivers across Europe. AutoSock extricates drivers from unforeseen challenges caused by inclement weather. AutoSock provides convenience, safety and peace-of-mind to drivers. When the weather is bad, AutoSock brings you home."

The device is so innovative that it was given the distinction of being awarded the International Grand Prix for technical innovation at the Equip Auto in 2005. The award came from a panel consisting of 75 journalists from 21 countries. This shows that the device is a good complement to highly efficient brake components like those found at .

The textile contains a fiber pattern which grips the icy road giving the tire good traction which is similar to that of a snow chain. It can also be driven at a relatively higher speed than a vehicle equipped with a snow chain. A vehicle equipped with the device can be driven up to speeds of 30 miles per hour without posing a serious threat to the AutoSock. Unlike snow chains, the AutoSock produces neither noise nor vibration. Due to its lightweight design, it can be stored easily aside from being easily installed and removed.

The design of the device also lets it adjust itself to the center of the tire while the car is running. It is also reusable and can be washed after usage. The AutoSock also fits most tire sizes of passenger cars and light trucks. The use of the device is well-matched to electronic safety systems like anti-lock braking system and electronic stability program.

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