Following a statement in the House of Commons yesterday by Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation, has expressed its disbelief and concern over the Government’s lack of understanding about the added safety benefits of winter weather tyres. Despite many independent tests proving that winter weather tyres are the safest option for drivers across the entire winter period, Mr Hammond incorrectly claimed they were not appropriate for UK situations.
“Mr Hammond’s comments show a complete lack of understanding about modern winter tyres which are the ideal solution to the type of weather we are currently experiencing,” explains Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “Studless winter tyres are designed to provide much better grip over the entire winter period, not just for when people are driving for long periods on compacted snow as he implied. They do not damage road surfaces in any way and are wholly appropriate for the UK situation.”
Winter weather tyres can be used all year round but their performance is notably better when temperatures fall below seven degrees Celsius. In these conditions ‘standard’ tyres begin to harden and lose their ability to grip the road surface properly. Winter weather tyres contain more natural rubber and advanced silica compounds to reduce the hardening process and improve grip. Tests conducted by the British Tyre Manufacturers Association found that a car braking at 60mph on a wet road at five degrees Celsius stopped five metres shorter, equivalent to more than one car length, when fitted with winter weather tyres. On ice and snow covered roads the difference was even more remarkable. The car equipped with winter tyres stopped 11 metres sooner on ice and eight metres sooner on snow, from just 20mph.
Mr Hammond also stated that “winter tyres wear out very quickly on normal road surfaces” but this is not the case as in winter conditions, winter tyres do not wear any more quickly than conventional tyres and are manufactured with a deeper tread to improve performance.
To help drivers further understand the benefits of winter weather tyres, TyreSafe has added a new dedicated section to its website along with an updated information leaflet which can be downloaded free of charge. To see the information visit www.tyresafe.org/wintertyres/