Without adequate tread depth in the snow, drivers may lose traction and find they are unable to steer, brake or accelerate properly. At best this could mean the driver is forced to abandon their car by the roadside and at worst, could result in a serious or fatal accident.
“By taking suitable precautions before the snow falls, drivers can continue to drive safely,” explains Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “In many parts of Europe, drivers do not experience similar levels of disruption in the snow as they are more used to checking their tyres. By making these checks today, drivers will be much better equipped to tackle whatever weather we experience over the next few days.”
In addition to checking their tread depth, drivers can significantly improve their safety in the winter by fitting cold weather tyres. These are designed to operate more effectively and provide added safety in temperatures below seven degrees Celsius. They contain more natural rubber than standard “summer” tyres, meaning they have extra grip in cold, wet, icy conditions, and enable significantly shorter stopping distances.
“Cold weather tyres give drivers a major safety enhancement over the whole winter period, not just when the snow falls,” continues Jackson. “As they are designed to work best at temperatures below seven degrees, they are very favourable from October through to March so should be seriously considered by all safety conscious motorists.”
Current UK law states that tyres should have at least 1.6mm of tread across the central three quarters of the tyre around its entire circumference. TyreSafe recently launched its ‘lifesaver in your pocket’ campaign to show drivers how to check their tyre tread depth using a 20p coin. Drivers who fail to comply with this legislation significantly increase their chances of being involved in an accident but also face a fine of £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.
For more information about the safety benefits of cold weather tyres or tips on how to check your tyre tread depth visit www.tyresafe.org.
TyreSafe is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of the dangers of defective and worn tyres. TyreSafe has campaigned consistently to underline the importance of tyre safety for more than 15 years and was rewarded with the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2001. TyreSafe receives positive support from many major tyre manufacturers and retailers, and has been credited with reducing the number of defective tyres in the UK over the past decade from 18% to 12%. TyreSafe is a signatory to the European Road Safety Charter which was launched in 2004 with the aim of halving the number of deaths on European roads by 2010.
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