Experienced by Kimatni Rawlins and MiKaiya Rawlins

It is National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 18 – 24), so what better way to pay homage to the much-needed messaging than teaching your licensed kids, and the adults in their world, the importance of tire technology in an automotive world full of distractions. For this reason, I ordered a set of Michelin’s new and superior CrossClimate2 all-season tires to make sure my 17-year-old daughter MiKaiya has fresh tread wrapped around her 2014 Toyota Avalon’s 18″ rims from one of the top industry tire brands.

Sadly,  I still see seasoned driving adults paying little attention to their wheels and often go with the cheapest rubber they can find or replace only the rear or front tire instead of the full set. Thus, that behavior is picked up by their children who then showcase no concern for the importance of tires. From braking distance to wet and dry traction to performance, your tires are literally one of the most essential components of your ride. The contact patch (the amount of rubber that touches the surface during rotation) is like a pair of cleats on the football field or spikes on the track.

With 56 sizes to choose from (25 currently and 56 in 2021), the CrossClimate2 fits a whopping 76% of the best-selling crossovers and cars in today’s car-buying market. We selected size 235/50/18 for the Avalon which offers more rubber to take on potholes, punctures, and is wider for added traction.

“We designed this tire to deliver safety and performance in every stop, every turn, and throughout every season,” said Michelin brand director Matthew Cabe. “Parents, caretakers, and all conscientious drivers understand the responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others when they drive. They don’t want to feel powerless. This tire gives them confidence and control in any weather, during any season.”

During our conversations and skills driving (I take her every weekend to an empty lot to demonstrate evasive maneuvering), I had Mika evaluate the tire and tell me what she thought.

Mika: Dad, what do the three numbers mean on the tire’s side, which I mentioned to Mika, was called the sidewall. I am glad she noticed; therefore, I explained.

Kimatni: The number “18” references the diameter of your rim, the “50” (aspect ratio) signifies the height of the tire’s sidewall, and the “235” represents the overall width of the rubber from one sidewall to the other. The aspect ratio is also dubbed tire profile. Essentially the lower the profile, the more tread contact patch available to grip the surface.

Mika: This tire looks like it has more patterns than the Michelin tires on mom’s MDX PMC. Why is that?

Kimatni: Well, mom has a more significant performance all-season 20″ tires for taking corners at higher speeds, and your tire features Michelin’s distinguishing V-formation tread pattern that works great in all weather conditions from rain to snow.

Mika: Can I put a bigger wheel on my car and still use these tires like I see on cars in music videos and some of our family members.

Kimatni:  No, you have an 18″ rim, so it requires an 18″ tire. Now, you can swap out the rims for a larger style, but the tire must always match the rim’s size. But keep in mind bigger is not always better; it depends on the type of vehicle you have and the required tires for that vehicle.  Tire size also affects your gas usage.

Mika: Does the car drive the same in the rain or snow?

Kimatni: No, you have to drive slower when the weather turns bad and start braking sooner because the ground becomes slippery. If you have bald or cheap tires, then the vehicle may skid when it tries to stop abruptly. Michelin said that your CrossClimate2 tires were made to stop in a shorter time than some of its competitors’ tires (up to 50 feet shorter when stopping from 50 mph). That makes a big difference when trying to avoid hitting someone in front of you. Also, after the tread wears down, it still has 31% better traction in the snow than four of the top leading tire brands. You should be thankful that you have a good set of safe tires that will last long.

Tires are always at the top of my mind when purchasing a new or used vehicle or exchanging rims. Mika is only eight months into her driving career, so I wanted her to have a top-rated tire from one of the most respected brands in town. The CrossClimate2 is Michelin’s most progressive and versatile year-round tire in twenty years, so we are delighted.

Moreover, please be cognizant of other safety concerns with teen drivers. Here are some stats to ruminate on so you can consistently educate your kids on what the focus should be when behind the wheel. Facts about Teen Driver Fatalities:

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States
  • In 2017, there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver
  • Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks

For more information on Michelin, please visit www.michelinman.com, and to learn about National Teen Driver Safety Week and safe driving tips to share with your teens, please spend time at www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/teen-driving.

Drive Safe!