FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- If you live on or visit the foothill and mountain communities -- are you ready for winter weather?
Every year as winter approaches, commercials warn about the dangers of driving in bad weather without all-wheel or four-wheel drive.
Action News anchor Christine Park reports there's something far more effective and cheaper to consider.
Commercials tout the advantages of all-wheel drive. "It's really icy right here," the narrator of a commercial said. "Without these computer systems, I think we'd be in chains."
There is no question, driving in snow and ice can be dangerous. Over 150,000 injuries and 2,000 deaths are caused by winter weather-related car accidents each year.
Consumer Reports spent weeks driving on its snowy, unplowed test track to see how much all-wheel drive helps. The engineers found it does make it easier to get your car moving on a slick surface, such as a snowy driveway.
But in handling tests, some all-wheel-drive vehicles struggled to stay on course when equipped with their original all-season tires.
To test braking, Consumer Reports used a Honda CR-V, the best-selling compact SUV. While going 60 miles per hour with its original all-season tires, it took 668 feet to stop - nearly the length of two football fields.
But when the CR-V was outfitted with winter tires, it stopped in less than half the distance. "We found using winter tires matters far more than using all-wheel drive in many situations,"Tom Mutchler with Consumer Reports said. "They provide the best grip for going, stopping, and cornering, no matter what kind of vehicle you drive."
Buying winter tires is an added expense, but will cost far less than the several thousand dollar premium you could pay for all-wheel drive.
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