Avoid slip ups with winter tyres
With forecasters uncertain about the likelihood of a white Christmas this year, drivers in the UK are being reminded that they can stay safe and mobile on the roads, whatever the weather, by fitting winter weather tyres.
Designed to provide better grip in cold and damp conditions compared with normal ‘summer’ tyres, winter tyres are ideal for British roads right the way from October through to the spring, when temperatures rarely rise above 7 degrees Celsius, as well in rarer but more extreme conditions such as snow and ice.
“We’ve had one of the mildest autumns on record, but the colder, wetter weather is now most definitely here bringing with it more hazardous driving conditions,” explains Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “While we can’t know for sure if we will experience snow this year, we can be certain that drivers fitting winter tyres will have better grip and safety, throughout the entire winter period.”
Many drivers in the UK mistakenly think that winter tyres only offer benefits when they are driving on snow and ice but the reality is very different. As temperatures drop below 7 degrees, the tread compound in normal tyres begins to harden, providing reduced levels of grip. Winter weather tyres contain more natural rubber which minimises the hardening effect, giving them extra grip in cold, wet and icy conditions. Indeed, tests conducted by the British Tyre Manufacturers Association found that a car braking at 60mph on a wet road at 5 degrees Celsius stopped five metres shorter, equivalent to more than one car length, when fitted with winter weather tyres.
“Without question, the safest option for UK drivers is to switch between winter and summer tyres each year as the seasons change,” continues Jackson. “Alternatively, all-season tyres can offer a more balanced performance without the need to change between seasons. However, investing in an extra set of winter tyres ensures they are best matched to the road conditions, providing the best possible levels of safety.”
Regardless of whether drivers decide to fit winter tyres or not, TyreSafe is reminding all drivers that they should ensure that their tyres have adequate tread depth. While the minimum legal minimum tread depth for cars is 1.6mm, deeper tread will provide drivers with safer motoring, especially in wet conditions.
To check the tread depth of your tyres, drivers can take the 20p test. Details of the test can be found by visiting here, where there is also a movie demonstrating the benefits of winter tyres by driving on an ice rink.