Winter driving in Mass question

I’m new to Somerville, MA, but not completely new to snow driving as I lived for years in the NC mountains. But there, in NC, I always drove a 4WD vehicle. Here, now, I have a 2007 Focus. And I have a one hour commute to Freetown for work. Will my Focus be adequate for this? Advice on tires, etc? Thanks much!

Four Blizzaks and you’ll be fine.


Yep, get 4 winter tires (on a separate set of steel rims is more convenient) will work fine - you’ll notice many fwd cars around Boston. The latest Consumer Reports has a winter tire review. The General Altimax Arctic came in 2nd, was much cheaper than the top-rated Michelin X-Ice XI 2. Buy a copy. But the most important thing is to get winter tires, regardless of brand.

If you install four winter tires on the car, your Focus will serve you well as a winter driver.

The brand of tire you choose is up to you, but you really should have winter tires. They make a big difference.

Get four Michelin X-Ice tires, and you will be better than fine!

Though AWD definitely gives you the ultimate in security and safety for commuting in snow when handled and prepared properly, the financial overkill must be weighed against commuting on paved and well maintained roads where steep inclines and unpaved roads is not an issue. You will manage fine with snow tires and even high rated all seasons. Be sure and change them when tread wear requires it for winter driving which is MORE important. Having snow tires worn to safe limits is false security. You may be better off with newer all seasons.

The mistake some of my friends who live in New England make, is buying an AWD car in lieu of winter change over in tires and still complaining about slippery winter conditions. I feel safer riding as a passenger in a self limiting fwd car with all seasons then an awd car with just all seasons. 4 wd or awd vehicles w/o good or appropriate tires are potential, one of the most unsafe vehicles to deal with on the road in slippery conditions. You may get little feed back during acceleration and you could be in big trouble driving too fast for conditions with 4wd/awd.

I have a related question, I have a Chrysler 300 SRT8 and may be moving from Atlanta to Kalamazoo, MI. Being a southern hillbilly without much winter driving experience, am I doomed? Will winter tires be enough, or should I get a more appropriate car before I go?

You sound like you’re the ‘perfect storm’ of winter driving: high powered rwd car + little experience in snow + long, cold, snowy winters…winter tires would certainly help, but if it was me, I’d sell the SRT8 and use the money for a fun fwd or awd car plus a good set of winter tires on separate rims.

Too much torque, automatic transmission, wide tires and RWD sound like too much winter driving excitement for me. That will be one of the worst cars to drive in winter. I’m a RWD guy and my BMW 328i sedan does great in Colorado winters with four real winter tires. My BMW 540i Sport was terrible for all of the reasons I mentioned above. Sell the 300 before you leave Atlanta and buy something more appropriate for MI.


Get out the rock’em sock’em robots, we got a grudge match! Let’s get ready to rumble!! In the far corner, we have the Mountainous Michelin X-Man and in the near corner, the Blizzak Bomber from Bridgestone. Fellas, I want a clean fight. No studding, siping or shaving allowed. Now go to your neutral corners and come out gripping!

One thing about the east coast, you’re going to have to deal with icy roads on a regular basis. Much more prevalent of a problem than snow. I bought Blizzaks and have been very happy. If you look at both of the current offerings, they appear very close in tread design and construction from what I saw in the lastest TR advertisement.

The two posts above have the experience and I would defer completely to their observations on high powered rwd cars. With the right tires and weight in the trunk, you “might” be able to mitigate some of the problems, but like “texases” says, inexperience is a big factor and OP is not ready…and it might take several years to get there.
Good question, and OP is right to be skeptical.

Your Focus will be fine for driving. as others said, best bet to get 4 winter tires on their own rims. Though all seasons should be ok, give it a winter and see how things go before buying up.

For the SRT8, I’d say garage the car and get something (cheap)else with F/Awd to tool around in during the winter months. If you can’t afford it, make sure you can find (atleast)some all season tires for your car as you’ve probably got summer tires installed on the car

SL Holmes, Do You Consider Yourself A Fairly Competent Or Skillful Driver?
You’ll do just fine.

I wouldn’t sell that Chrysler just yet. I live considerably north of K-Zoo’s latitude, up in the real snow and foul winter weather territory. It will take you a brief adjustment period and then you should be as good to go as anybody else around there.

I have lived in an area of severe winters for many, many years. I have driven Hi-Po RWD V-8s, FWD V-6s and all other forms of domestic cars. I have never even run snow tires on them and haven’t had problems getting around. A light touch on the vehicle’s controls is part of the secret.

My biggest problem is reduced visibility in the winter caused by blowing snow, fog, and snow fog, and I’m sure you’ve experience poor visibility in Georgia.

We had a dumb blonde at work who moved from Texas to our area (north of the 45th parallel) and adjusted to driving her Camaro in a short time.

Be prepared to start paying more attention to the weather forecasts and leave early if things sound less than ideal. Relaxed driving is much safer than feeling rushed. Allow a little extra time (sometimes traffic really slows) and a little more space ahead and you should be fine.

I’d keep that large car just to protect yourself from the “other guy”. You’ll see plenty of Chrysler 300s on the road in winter.


Just put FOUR (4) WINTER tyres on it. They are far better than the old snow tyres. Remember that 4WD does help you get out of a ditch, it it will NOT keep you from sliding in to the ditch to begin with. Good WINTER tyres can do both.

One addition. If you are at the end of a small unplowed road, you could be in for a problem, check to see what your neighbors have to say.