Bridgestone let me test the new Blizzak WS90 snow tires and hello traction

In case you have ever wondered how digital technology and automotive design impacts safety on the road, take a gander at the Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 snow tires.

The pattern of the tire means you have more stopping power, better traction, and less wear during the winter season. It’s obvious Bridgestone engineers spent a lot of time on a computer to maximize the traction and long-lasting wear of this amazing tire.

I know, because I tested four of them this winter. I’m not usually one to swap out my tires, so you could say I’m not a “believer” in the cost or the time to swap out the tires. (In most cases, you also have to find a place to store your all-season tires.) After this season, I can now say they make a huge difference.

I can imagine the design is a big factor. Bridgestone claims the tires have 15% more block edge than the WS80 tires. You can think of the block edge as like an ice pick, it’s what grips the ice for you. In a computer simulation, I could see an engineer testing out exactly how wide those block edges should be. In looking at the tire, it has the look of computer design all over it.

In a similar way, the tread compound of the tire is also designed for stopping power. That is also fascinating to me, especially since they tested this feature on an ice rink. I wish I had that job. The tires use a precise pattern that works best for quick stops. 

This is not just a theory. In my 20 years of reviewing products, I’ve never done a test quite like this: before I tested the tires I drove around for weeks using my BMW 3 with all-season tires on the same roads I always use. Then, I swapped out the tires and drove on the same roads. 

Stopping power was way better, traction was noticeably superior. I drove differently. Using the Blizzak WS90 tires meant I was more confident on the road and ended up not even thinking that much about snowy weather, blizzard conditions, or icy roads. Bridgestone says the WS90 have 30% more block stiffness for this model so they can last an extra season.

Then there’s the multi-cell tech. This is the pattern you see, the one I mentioned that looks like it was designed on a computer. There’s no question my car had better grip on icy roads, including a ramp I use for parking on occasion. Again, before the snow tires I would slip on the ramp going up and down; with the snow tires there was no slip at all.

So what does this all mean?

For me, there is no going back. I plan to swap out my tires for snow tires every season, which makes me like my car even more. (I have an older model BMW 3 but it has all-wheel drive already; the snow tires just make the car even more grippy in winter.)

I’m a true believer.