Are Snow Socks Easy to Fit?
Snow socks are very easy to fit. They are light and flexible, and made of an elastic material. They are easier to fit than snow chains, and do not require any specialist equipment. However, that does not mean that you can simply buy them and forget about them. It is a good idea to do a practice run when you buy some new snow socks – both to check that the socks actually fit your tyres, and to make sure that you know how to fit them.
Remember that if you are caught in a snowdrift or out on very icy roads, you will be working in less than optimal conditions. Your hands will be cold, the ground may be wet, and visibility could be poor. The quicker you can fit your snow socks the better.
It is a good idea to pack an old pair of gloves, a rain coat, and something to kneel on so that you can work relatively comfortably. Make a habit of keeping a winter survival kit in your car boot, with a blanket or warm clothes, hazard triangles, a torch, some jump leads and a phone charger (or a spare phone with a long battery life). Some people also carry water and food, so that if they do get stranded they will be comfortable while they wait for aid.
How to Fit Your Snow Socks
Fitting snow socks is a relatively simple job:
- Identify the drive wheels of your car. You need to fit a sock on both of the drive wheels.
- Unpack the sock, and slip it over the top of the tyre, working down towards the area where the tyre meets the road.
- Your snow socks should have an elasticated band that will hold them in place while you are fitting them. You should be able to cover the vast majority of the tyre in one go, and the sock will stay in place when you let go.
- Once you have covered as much of the tyre as you can, go to the other side of the car and repeat the process on the other tyre.
- Next, drive forward about one meter (three feet), and then get out of the car and pull the sock over the rest of the tyre. Your socks are now fitted and you can get back in to your car.
- Start driving, slowly. The sock will automatically centre itself over the tyre once you start driving, unlike snow chains, which must be manually tightened.
Snow socks will improve traction between your tyres and the road, and they will reduce your braking distance compared to normal tyres in icy conditions. However, they are not as good as winter tyres, so you should still watch your speed and drive carefully.
Note that snow socks will give you traction once they are fitted, but if you end up caught in snow before you put the socks on, they might not be able to help you. Pay attention to the weather conditions, and if you see heavy snow up ahead, pull over when it is safe to do so, and fit your socks before driving on. When the road clears up, pull over again and remove the socks, so that you don’t damage them by driving on a road covered in salt and grit. This will prolong the life of your snow socks, so you can keep using them throughout the winter.
How Do I Choose the Right Size?
At the RAC shop, we make it easy to find the perfect size of snow sock thanks to our size-finding tool. All you need to do is enter the registration number of your car, and our software will identify your car’s make and model and tell you what size of snow sock to buy. If, for any reason, it gets your car’s type wrong, or cannot identify the car at all, you can use the numbers that are printed on the side of the tyres on your drive wheels to figure out what sort of snow socks to buy.
The drive wheels are the wheels that are powered by the engine (the ones that spin if you’re stuck in mud). Make a note of the numbers that are printed on those wheels, and select the matching numbers from the list on the Snow Sock size tool. You can safely ignore any letters, because these refer to how the tyre is made, rather than the tyre size.
Snow socks are made of a relatively soft material, so they will eventually rip. If you live in a rural area and expect to have to do a lot of driving in snow or ice, then snow socks are not the best choice, because you will need to replace them regularly. At £30 - £50 per set, you will quickly find that you end up spending more on snow socks than you would have on tyres or chains.
However, for occasional use by a city driver they are a great option. They are an affordable way to get peace of mind, and they can be stored in your car year-round, so you don’t have to worry about freak weather conditions catching you unaware.
If you do get stuck in bad weather, call the rescue service that you are a member of. Alternatively, call the police. Do not call friends or family, because unless they have specialist equipment they will not be able to help you, and you run the risk of them getting stuck as well. The best thing to do is avoid driving in bad weather, and if the worst does happen, stay safe and wait for help from the experts.