Exclusive Which? Car snow socks testTest shows snow socks can halve stopping distances
10 February 2012
After two snowy winters, it seems as though car tyre snow socks - fabric covers that you slip over the car's driven wheels - are the latest winter must-have accessory.
But are they worth investing in, and will they be as good at getting you out of trouble as a set of winter tyres?
To find out, and reveal which are the best snow socks on snow and ice, Which? Car travelled to the Swiss Alps to test nine pairs of snow socks from makes such as AutoSock, Snocks and Universal.
Watch our snow socks testing video
Should you invest in snow socks?
Our rigorous test programme included repeated assessments of braking, uphill acceleration, traction and handling. We also tested each pair of snow socks for ease of fitting and removal.
To enable us to compare the performance of snow socks against that of tyres, we performed the same suite of tests on a car fitted with premium winter tyres and another fitted with premium summer tyres.
Serious differences in performance on snow
The snow sock test highlighted some dramatic - and potentially life-saving - differences in performance. For example, it took almost twice as long for a car fitted with summer tyres to stop as one wearing snow socks.
Yet even the best snow socks can't match the braking and traction of decent winter tyres. But with a set of snow socks costing around £60, they're a much cheaper alternative for dealing with bouts of snow and ice.