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Sounds like a great testing environment, looking forward to your findings.

BTW - Our daughter lives in Elk Grove CA and we usually spend a month there during the winter.
 
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I think both view points have made their case.
^ I think that's really the short and long of it, where it comes to aftermarket siping. My understanding is also what you'd read, GaryInMI - that the NSC asked for removal of the citation. And as for the 1988-dated NHTSA "interpretation," I unfortunately really am not sure what that means...my understanding of their Interpretations are used to help requestors clarify the laws/codes/ordinances. In this particular letter, it seems to just be a compilation of various citations (of varying applicability to road-legal vehicles) and testimonials.

SikPro3, is there a way for you to test 10/10th straight-line braking in clear, clear-wet, and snow/ice conditions?

While we won't have anything to compare the data to (unless you've got another set of factory tires available for back-to-back runs), at least we can get an idea of what we're looking at. :)

The bigger problem with this is that there is always a chance for tire damage (both accrued as well as acute), as you'll need to engage ABS from a reasonable road speed (i.e. fast enough to elicit ABS intervention for a long enough distance so as to make a difference in the data)....finding a safe area to do test in this manner, with a consistent surface, is yet another concern, particularly as you'll need to set up braking marker as well as measure distance-to-stop. Consistency (i.e. vehicle weight/weight distribution, etc.) will also need to be taken into account.

Perhaps more easily obtained would be straight-line acceleration numbers?

Regardless, even though you'd be gathering but a singular data point, it'd be an interesting data point. The possibility of being able to track changes in your observations as the tires wear through the sipes will also be very, very interesting. :)

I think that more than likely there will be clear improvements in straight-line acceleration in powder snow. Even with modern winter tires, tire engineers continue to credit tread design as the major contributing factor, here. Other areas of performance I'm less willing to bet on, as confounding factors are likely to come into play that, in my humble opinion (tire science is way beyond the scope of my comprehension as a simple hobbyist), can potentially sway the results more than this lone variable otherwise should.

It's really too bad that there's not more rigorous and more modern testing of siped tires available. Instrumented tests of both straight-line performance as well as skid-pad would be most interesting, to say the least of tests conducted by true professional test-drivers. Having been lucky enough to have gotten a taste of that - both in terms of being able to do some of the testing myself (while being yelled at by the instructor to "go faster/harder" so that the true limits of the tires can be probed :D) as well as being able to ride shotgun while the manufacturers' test-driver hot-lapped on a race-track - it makes me hunger for that kind of data. :)
 

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Were you still on the OEM tires?

Also, send me some of that snow! I bought this thing in Jul ‘18 and have yet to see a snowflake stick on the road.
This was on the factory 20" Falkens, would have been much more comfortable with my 18" General Arctic tires and wheels on the car, but a bad back precludes me doing it myself this fall, and I haven't had a chance to get to the tire shop to have them do it for me.

I only have about 6500 miles on the Falkens so they are basically new still. But there were times where the wind blew the car off course ( and of course this happened as I was going downhill in x mode, at about 8 mph, past cars that were stuck going up the hill- conditions were so bad cars were stuck on both sides of the road going uphill so I had to gingerly steer around them). X mode is nice as it eliminated the anxiety of having to hit the brakes or throttle and cause a disturbance to the smoothness required to keep the car from losing traction.
But, the systems all did what they were supposed to do, and I am happy for that.
We had about 7" at my main house, and about 16-8" up at the lake in Western Ma. I'd prefer milder winters up this way, but otherwise I love living in the northeast. If I could send the snow your way, I would.
 

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This was on the factory 20" Falkens, would have been much more comfortable with my 18" General Arctic tires and wheels on the car, but a bad back precludes me doing it myself this fall, and I haven't had a chance to get to the tire shop to have them do it for me.
That's one of the practical concerns that I always try to highlight for folks looking at winter tires - there's a bit of logistics/planning to be had that requires some honest self-reflection.

I'm lucky in that I don't have any predisposing injuries. Doubly so that my daughter is now getting strong enough to at least do the work on our smaller vehicle (my wife's WRX). :) But being completely honest, these wheel/tire combos are not light-weight and the task itself truly not all that easy to handle, either. Raw strength is something that's necessary, here, and this needs to be framed in the context of one's injuries, disabilities, or other physical limitations.

Similarly, even getting just the tire carcasses down to the local shop can be an issue for some (I've started to help my in-laws, but my FIL stubbornly continues to try to sometimes tackle this on his own), much less the wheel/tire combo. Add to that the start of the winter season is typically one of the busiest times of the year - if not outright THE busiest - for these shops, and it becomes very difficult to completely impractical to do last-minute changes (as current data would suggest to be of the biggest benefit, performance-wise). For some, the ability to pay a fee to have the shop store the off-season tire or wheel/tire setup may be a worthy spend.

While I do not envy you for your back pains and wish you a speedy return-to-health, Percy Garris, I do appreciate that your post above highlighted some of the practical considerations that folks may not fully process prior to purchase. :)
 

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Now in CO, it makes me really appreciate the speed and efficiency with which they clear snow in eastern MA. It's truly remarkable how good MA is and how poor it is here.

The Ascent was very good in the snow with stock tires, which is good with how bad they are with clearing snow here. This is my first Subaru after continuously owning AWD vehicles since '84 (the first was an Audi 4000s Quattro). The Ascent is much better than the previous 10 year old RX350, which understeered badly and had a wacky TCS and stability control system. (contemporary RXs may be better). General traction in slippery conditions is hard to compare as it's so variable.

No matter how good the tires, you can always out drive the available traction. I tend to think about it this way. It's kinda contrarian, but rather than stopping shorter at a given speed, better tires let you go a little faster or follow a little closer or corner a little faster. It's a corollary to what I found in my moto racing and mtb riding. The better the bike/tires/suspension, the faster I'm going when I crash.
 

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I'
Sounds like a great testing environment, looking forward to your findings.

BTW - Our daughter lives in Elk Grove CA and we usually spend a month there during the winter.
[/QUOTE
Sounds like a great testing environment, looking forward to your findings.

BTW - Our daughter lives in Elk Grove CA and we usually spend a month there during the winter.
Give a shout when you're in town. I'll buy ya a cup of coffee!
 

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Give a shout when you're in town. I'll buy ya a cup of coffee!
Thank that would be great!
I've always admired those who can ski, but that's not in my skill set apparently. Those nice boys of the Ski Patrol let me ride their toboggan all the way down to the ambulance. Fast forward 40 years and a couple more bad decisions and now I have a titanium shoulder ?
 

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Thank that would be great!
I've always admired those who can ski, but that's not in my skill set apparently. Those nice boys of the Ski Patrol let me ride their toboggan all the way down to the ambulance. Fast forward 40 years and a couple more bad decisions and now I have a titanium shoulder ?
I taught skiing while raising my 2 sons as a part time job in order to get the season passes for them. I didn't make money, but then I had a full time job to do that with the electric company. Eventually I took some EMT courses and worked Ski Patrol. That was fun too, but a little more serious work. Throwing sticks of explosives to trigger snow so it wouldn't build into avalanche conditions was fun though. BOOM! Ha! I know this mountain like the back of my hand. Here's a photo of my youngest son as I was getting ready to drop some charges. Lake Tahoe just barely visible upper left in this photo.
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Here's another with Lake Tahoe in the background after dropping the charges and ready to ski the glade.
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My son skiing the now-cleared glade;
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I love the back country though. Here's a tree just poking out of what is at least a 20' base of snow.
2428
 

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So I had the local morning news on this morning and they’re showing the snow out west. It was live tv so I missed the location but they showed a highway with a pileup that included a white Ascent :( Someone’s car didn’t do well in the snow unfortunately.
Unti we have automatic cars, then a lot of the blame for accidents still should probably fall on the drivers. When I drove back into the storm to MN from WI, I observed quite a few people who were driving too fast for the conditions. I don't think AWD and Traction Control will help prevent an accident if you are going 70mph in slippery conditions. At times, I didn't go above 40mph and my Ascent tracked true (with the OEM's).
 

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Now in CO, it makes me really appreciate the speed and efficiency with which they clear snow in eastern MA. It's truly remarkable how good MA is and how poor it is here.

The Ascent was very good in the snow with stock tires, which is good with how bad they are with clearing snow here. This is my first Subaru after continuously owning AWD vehicles since '84 (the first was an Audi 4000s Quattro). The Ascent is much better than the previous 10 year old RX350, which understeered badly and had a wacky TCS and stability control system. (contemporary RXs may be better). General traction in slippery conditions is hard to compare as it's so variable.

No matter how good the tires, you can always out drive the available traction. I tend to think about it this way. It's kinda contrarian, but rather than stopping shorter at a given speed, better tires let you go a little faster or follow a little closer or corner a little faster. It's a corollary to what I found in my moto racing and mtb riding. The better the bike/tires/suspension, the faster I'm going when I crash.
Even in Berkshire county ( Western Mass) the snow removal is pretty good. My house up there is in a private community however, and those roads aren't always the first things to be plowed.
I'm surprised that Colorado hasn't gotten snow removal down to a science, although it is largely town dependent on the smaller roads..

I haven't seen a 4000 Quattro in years. Those were great cars .
 

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^ Same as I noted in the other thread:

I find the conclusion that they drew to be weird....despite both the All-Season and the CrossClimate ("All Weather") tires out-performing the winter tires at both the wet and dry braking tests by clear margins even at temperatures well below 7 deg. C/45-deg. F, the presenter still pays homage to the "45-deg. F./7-deg. C. and change" cliche/catchphrase?

Folks - pay attention that the presenter above is talking about summer tires, when he's speaking of that magical "change tires" temperature. Take a look at the raw data and don't just skip to the conclusion of the video above. Understand that with an "All Season" or "All Weather" tire, the actual traction advantages from winter tires really comes in only when there's frozen precipitation on the roadway, and importantly, when there's not, the very same compromises that gives the tire advantages on frozen precipitation will exact sacrifices in clear (of frozen precipitation) conditions, both dry and wet.
 

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Let's say you live somewhere where the average winter temps are above freezing (highs 40s, lows 30s). But you drive up to the mountains to go skiing with some frequency. Is the bigger risk (a) having all-season tires on those once-a-week or once-a-month trips up into the mountains? Or (b) having winter tires while driving a bunch of miles "around town" on roads with temps in the 40s (i.e. no snow, ice, etc., either dry or rainy)? [Obviously it's cheaper to not buy winter tires--especially since they'd be used only a handful of times per year--but let's ignore that for now.]

I'm sure there's a lot of "it depends" to that, but curious to read thoughts from those with experience. Thanks!
 

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While winter rated tires might not perform as well on wet/dry roads as an all season or summer tire, they do at least perform. Watch the news of multi car pile-ups. A winter ice/snow tire would have maintained driver control. Those folks had ZERO braking and ZERO steering control. Not just reduced or compromised, they were non-existent!! I'll take a winter tire on wet roads any day over an 'all season' on icy roads like I see on the news with spin-outs.
 

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Let's say you live somewhere where the average winter temps are above freezing (highs 40s, lows 30s). But you drive up to the mountains to go skiing with some frequency. Is the bigger risk (a) having all-season tires on those once-a-week or once-a-month trips up into the mountains? Or (b) having winter tires while driving a bunch of miles "around town" on roads with temps in the 40s (i.e. no snow, ice, etc., either dry or rainy)? [Obviously it's cheaper to not buy winter tires--especially since they'd be used only a handful of times per year--but let's ignore that for now.]

I'm sure there's a lot of "it depends" to that, but curious to read thoughts from those with experience. Thanks!
This is my situation; I live at 2,000' elevation and rarely get snow. I drive 40 miles and the snow is measured in feet, as in over 50' a season. I ski 3 times a week on average a winter. This year I chose to sipe the OEM tires on my new Ascent. So far, they work plenty fine. One of the conditions with driving to ski resorts out here in California is that CalTrans will throw up chain controls. This limits speed to 25mph. I think this alone prevents more accidents than the chains themselves. It's pretty hard to loose control at 25mph and when it does happen, the ensuing results are much less than, say, 50mph. These are steeper roads with multi turns, compared to the midwest and east coast where the roads are relatively flat and straight. Driving those would be torture at 25mph. I'm sure that drivers start out with good intentions, let their guard down and the speed go up until someone makes a mistake.
 

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Let's say you live somewhere where the average winter temps are above freezing (highs 40s, lows 30s). But you drive up to the mountains to go skiing with some frequency. Is the bigger risk (a) having all-season tires on those once-a-week or once-a-month trips up into the mountains? Or (b) having winter tires while driving a bunch of miles "around town" on roads with temps in the 40s (i.e. no snow, ice, etc., either dry or rainy)? [Obviously it's cheaper to not buy winter tires--especially since they'd be used only a handful of times per year--but let's ignore that for now.]

I'm sure there's a lot of "it depends" to that, but curious to read thoughts from those with experience. Thanks!
You've got it: unfortunately, there's no right answer - it's a personal risk assessment that one must make for themselves.

The biggest flaw in anyone's thinking that I can point to is that we are tempted to place too much value on the worst 25% when by-definition an "accident" happens when we are least expecting it.

It's akin to suggesting that you'll be OK just having seat-belts in the car because you can buckle up on longer trips or when you otherwise feel like something is more likely to happen. That's just magical thinking. :)

I gave a very concrete example in this past thread: https://www.ascentforums.com/threads/dedicated-winter-tire-versus-snow-rated-all-terrain.8684/#post-117155 , and I'll quote it here for those who don't like to click-through:

A driver equips his vehicle with an excellent set of modern "Studdless Ice & Snow" tires for the winter, in preparation for his area's probable two to three bigger/worse winter storms. He views this purchase as an investment, one that can well save his insurance deductible over the course of the lifespan of his tires (the way he drives, for about 4 seasons, +/- three winters, total). His area, however, rarely gets such storms, and most of the time, he spends his time on well-maintained highways and streets that are simply wet. Occasion arises that he needs to panic-stop - full-tilt ABS - one night on his way home from work as the driver in front reacted to an incident: his awesome-for-the-winter "Studless Ice & Snow" can't make the best of such a circumstance and he winds up lightly rear-ending the stopped vehicle in front of him - braking distance that he knows should have been more than sufficient to have stopped his vehicle if he had his "usual" tires on.

Not a likely scenario?

Hark back to the 2009 C&D data (ETA: https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/comparison-test/a15387926/2009-winter-tire-test-comparison-tests/ ) : at a rather cold 23 deg. F., on a wet-only surface, the "All Season" MXM4 required 140 ft. to come to a stop from 60 MPH. In those same conditions, the "Studless Ice & Snow" Xi2 required 174 ft. to achieve the same.

Sure, the same data definitely says that the Xi2s would have saved this driver's bacon had the same scenario played out on snow-covered roads - but as many of us can well see when we look out the window, "winter" isn't just all ice and snow.
An "accident" is by-definition unexpected - to suggest that we can simply be more careful when there's no snow/ice on the ground is just as optimistic as suggesting that we can simply get-by with less winter-capable tires when Snowpocalypse rolls through. ;)

But you know this already, and I think that's why you're having a bit of difficulty with your decision process. Believe me, I totally get it. :)

In your shoes, I would choose to split the difference and not get too carried away with either side of the extremes: I would choose either a winter-biased "All Season" or step up to an "All Weather," or, alternatively, if I were to weigh more the wintering capabilities of the tire (as I probably would in this case, since you're looking at either weekly or twice-monthly trips into more challenging territory), go with a "Performance Winter."

Based on your scenario above, I would not be willing to compromise too much towards wintering capabilities with either "Studless Ice & Snows" or running a studdable tire either studded or without, as in-reality, your "75%" is more like "85 to 90%."

I would, however, definitely choose to supplement self-extrication capabilities by carrying additional supplies such as a traction board, some sand/litter, temporary tire traction enhancement device (AutoSock or the like), shovel, kinetic recovery rope, etc.

Some folks choose to carry firearms for self-defense. Others choose OC/"pepper spray." Others eschew any type of resistance. As long as the individual can give me a good reason why he/she chooses what they do, I can respect it. :)
 
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