Originally Posted by 2011 SE
But I'm a firm believer that going slower and leaving a larger following distance will avoid 90% of common winter driving ailments.
The 10% is why I bought winter/snow tires. I started driving in the snow only a few years ago (beginning of 2008) and never drove with snow tires until last winter. To me the 10% is the unknown; the guy in the SUV who crosses blindly crosses the highway because it's hard to see around the snowbanks, the person that merges in front of you doing 15-20mph on the highway without signaling, the accident that happens right in front of you, debris in the road, sheets of ice, etc. I can't imagine other drivers are much less of a danger where you are.
The Ford Focus is a great car, but like most other FWD cars it prone to under-steer at it's limits, which are very low on ice (I've been barely moving through parking lots, unable to turn, unable to stop moving towards an obstacle). They don't salt roads here, you have to wait for it to melt which takes a while because we get cold winters.
The last vehicle I drove through winter with all seasons was my Ford Ranger. Even leaving generous stopping distances there were still occasions where I had to plow into snow next to the curb so that I did not hit the person who just stopped at the light in front of me (this is given nearly a block of stopping distance). I never drove my Ranger fast in the winter because it stayed in 2wd unless the snow was too deep to move anywhere without 4wd. Sheets of ice are incredibly difficult to stop on, especially without snow tires. I'm not saying snow tires are a replacement for common sense, I'm just saying they're worth the money.
It sounds like you have a lot more experience driving in snow/ice so I'm not telling you anything new. But
if you like your Focus the price of snow tires is easily justifiable. You will probably have to pay more than I did since my car does not have TPMS, but winter tires are well worth it.