Don't Try This At Home: Model S Plaid On Summer Tires Tackles Snow

By Dan Mihalascu

Driving a vehicle on a snow-covered road using summer tires is never a good idea, even if that vehicle has all-wheel drive.

Granted, there can be situations where the weather can take you by surprise and you wake up in the morning to five inches of snow while your vehicle still has the summer tires on.

In a situation like this, it’s best not to drive, but what do you do if you live in a remote place and you absolutely need to reach the closest town? 

Well, this video from YouTube user Ridgeside K9 shows what it’s like to drive a vehicle fitted with summer tires on a dirt road covered in five inches of snow.

The vehicle is a Tesla Model S Plaid, which does have some advantages for driving in the snow. Those would be the all-wheel drive system, the hefty curb weight, the high ground clearance enabled by the adaptive suspension, and the regenerative braking system—set to 100% in this video. However, one wrong move and those summer tires can ruin everything.

Obviously, in these sort of conditions you need to tread carefully and the driver does that by traveling at no more than 15–20 mph (24–32 km/h) so that the car remains in the highest suspension setting, which enables the driver to keep the tires in the ruts created by previous drivers.

It all goes surprisingly smoothly, although it helped that this driver was on a private road he knew very well, with little to no traffic. After about five miles of incident-free driving on the snow-covered dirt road, the Model S Plaid reached a paved road where snow had been cleared. 

Still, that doesn’t mean the driver was now able to unleash the full might of the Model S Plaid’s tri-motor powertrain, as he had to remain alert for patches of black ice. Once on the main road that had been sprayed with sand and salt, he could relax a bit more, although not as much as if his car were on winter or snow tires.

Now, just because something can be done, it doesn’t mean one should do it, so please don’t try this at home.


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