Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Auto Socks For Your Tires Instead of Snow Chains?

With the recent blizzard, the importance of being prepared with a four-wheel-drive vehicle, or a set of snow chains, has once again been demonstrated to many folks who traveled up to Beech Mountain this past Sunday.  More than a few of those vacationers stopped in Banner Elk to get their tires fitted with chains before proceeding up the mountain, only to discover a rather long line at the service stations consisting of everyone else who had the same idea.

This year, I did a little online research to see what technological breakthroughs might have come onto the market to help address the needs of people who don't often encounter harsh winters, but who do like to go visit where they are once or twice a year.  I found "snow socks" for tires.  These are described as an "innovative lightweight fabric-based, temporary traction aid for cars and trucks" on, and have the advantage over snow chains of being much easier to put on your tires and less bulky to store, as this video clip demonstrates.

Before posting this particular blog article, I also checked with the Beech Mountain Police Department; first, to make sure these snow socks are legal to use in North Carolina; but also to ask for an opinion on whether they are worth trying out on Beech Mountain.  I was delighted to receive an email today from Captain Jerry Turbyfill, who assures me that they are a legal substitute for chains.  He goes on to say that they are not as durable as regular snow chains, but can be useful when you don't have ready access to them.  The ideal solution, of course, is to shop online for a set of solid linked chains with cleats during the off-season (when they'll be on sale), or rent a 4-wheel-drive vehicle.  But, if you can't do either of these things before it's time to head to Beech, see if you can get your hands on some snow socks for your car.
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