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Winter tyres: should we use them?Back

Have you ever considered using winter tyres? It is required by law that many countries worldwide use winter tyres during late autumn, winter and early spring.

One of the main problems when considering winter tyres is the lack of knowledge most of us have about their benefits. In the past, winter tyres would not have been considered worthwhile in the UK due to our mild winters, but the past two years of heavy snow and ice have proved otherwise.

Winter tyres are a particularly important consideration for fleet operators and businesses that rely on their staff being able to drive across the UK safely and efficiently. It can cost businesses hundreds of millions of pounds if employees are unable to get to work safely or vehicles are unable to make deliveries. This could all change if more companies adopted winter tyres.

What are winter tyres?

Winter tyres can be identified by the mark M+S and sometimes a symbol of a snowflake, both of which are found on the tyre wall. Winter tyres are designed to retain grip and handling properties in all temperatures.

What are the benefits of winter tyres?

Winter tyres are made from a silica compound which means that they do not harden like other tyres when the temperatures drops below 7 degrees. The tread is much rougher on winter tyres than other seasonal tyres, which increases traction, and the grooves in winter tyres are deeper (typically 30mm) meaning they will have better grip on the roads whatever the weather conditions.

Why should I use winter tyres?

  • Continental Tyres has recorded that drivers are six times more likely to have an accident related to traction during the winter months than at any other time of the year.
  • In the case of fleet operators, winter tyres will not only protect drivers, they will also prevent hold ups caused by bad weather.
  • Safety systems such as ABS and ESP work better if coupled with tyres which contain good grip to avoid skidding.
  • Winter tyres offer the best grip in winter conditions below 7 degrees.
  • Other seasonal tyres will wear much quicker in lower temperatures as they are more likely to spin on snow and ice.
  • Winter tyres generally provide better grip in wet conditions that other seasonal tyres, even at temperatures above 7 degrees.

With tyre safety organisations such as TyreSafe claiming that winter tyres are the safest option for motorists who are driving on Britain’s roads between October and April, perhaps it is time to start thinking about buying some.

 

Posted by Leana Kell on 14/09/2011