For those travelers taking to the road, a standard from ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International helps to determine the performance of automobile tires under winter's cruelest conditions. ASTM F1572, Standard Test Methods for Tire Performance Testing on Snow and Ice Surfaces, outlines test methods for evaluating tire performance of cars and light truck vehicles on snow and ice. These test methods evaluate tires as part of the tire/vehicle system and do not reflect upon the performance of the vehicle itself. Accordingly, the standard allows for the variability of test results with different vehicles.
Walking or skiing are about the only easy ways to navigate the Mid-Atlantic winter wonderland today. But with these standards and guidelines in place, millions of Americans cooped up in airports, train stations, and hotels - or happily stuck on their couches at home - will soon be safely on the move again.