I seem to think there must be some non-corrosive and environmentally friendly alternative to use on the roads although I bet costs area major consideration.
I did wonder if the lack of standards was due to the switch to front wheel drive although most have been this was since the early 80's so I doubt its that now, 20 years ago perhaps.
I think its a combination of lack of "good" winters so new drivers are not really aware that well of how to drive in snow etc, I can recall it was bad in about 93 and again in 97 and a bit in 2010 but not really bad in-between. I do remember those years for other reasons though.
I also slightly suspect the increase in driving aids and relative comfort or safety features in more modern vehicles make people think they are more invincible, ie things like ABS and Traction Control. Does not mean you'll stop any faster, might even take longer as the only real purpose of ABS is to retain some steering control not to really shorten braking distances as far as I'm concerned.
There is nothing wrong with these features as they are very useful however the 'concern' I have is some drivers seem to think they substitute general safety and common sense.
Also, a lot of modern cars have large thin low profile tyres, in my limited experience (I did work as a valeter in a bodyshop for a while) its these that tend to have more problems, although if its down to the drivers I do not know. I do not think crazy 30/40 profiles with wide tyres are any help on the snow / ice at all personally, a nice thin tyre will 'cut' through it much better and maybe afford better control with care.
Perhaps this is why a 2CV is good in the snow (not personal experience, just what I read someone can confirm or otherwise as I know we have a few on here) , although to be fair when I ran a Beetle (!) with its similar tyres to a 2CV, ie tall and thin, it too was not at all bad in the nasty weather.
Also disturbing to see the number (relatively) of 4wd vehicles also afflicted and found in the ditch.
, I also wonder if by possessing said vehicles their drivers think they are immune to the bad weather and can drive normally, the answer would be no it does not quite work like that, you may have better general traction but its not safe to drive at a normal dry day speed by any means...