Autos: A New Grip on the Road

Not many years ago, snow tires were little more than an oddity on U.S. highways. About all they did then was whine; now they are booming. This year the tire industry will sell 12.5 million of them compared with only 3,850,000 as recently as 1957. To keep the boom going, it has brought out a revolutionary type of snow tire: one with tiny metallic studs imbedded in the rubber to increase traction.

Regular snow tires (which no longer whine) increase traction on snow-covered roads by 50%, but the scores of tiny metallic studs-protruding about one-sixteenth of an inch from the...

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