Are you ready for the winter season? Have you prepared with some winter tyres that will cope in the colder conditions that are on the way?
Winter - The Effects
A few facts about driving during the winter season:
- Drivers are around 5 times more likely to skid on snow/icy road conditions than they are on dry roads.
- The number of accidents caused by wet road conditions increases in winter by over 250%
- 31% of people said they have had a particularly bad experience whilst driving due to winter weather conditions.
- 60% of people said they feel scared or uneasy when driving in winter conditions.
- 36% of people said they have found themselves stuck on a journey due to winter conditions.
- But 65% of people said they spend less than £200 on preparing their car for winter driving.
- 75% of people said they would not consider fitting winter tyres - (UK).
So, What is the difference between winter tyres, and normal tyres?
Snow tyres (a.k.a winter tires) have tread patterns specifically designed to dig down and bite into snow and ice.
They are made from softer rubber compounds that retain their flexibility in cold weather, allowing the tire to better conform to the surface of the road.
Special winter tires are designed to throw the snow away and keep the surface clean on the whole depth of the tread, this helps maintain traction and handling.
Additionally, they have tougher bead construction to resist to multiple mounting and dismounting operations which usually take place before the beginning of the cold season.
How much do they cost?
Typically, they’re between 10 and 20% dearer than a regular set of tyres from a quality brand.
Makers justify this by saying they contain more natural rubber and for that reason cost more to make.
Do they wear faster than regular tyres?
Not really. They actually wear a little more slowly.
When should they be fitted?
Winter tyres aren’t just for snow, they can be used on slush, ice, frost and even wet roads.
In fact any time the temperature dips below +7deg you’re better off on winter tyres.
Is it enough in winter just to drive more slowly?
Below 7°C you would stop 11 meters sooner than with summer tyres (when braking on an icy road from just 20mph).
That is 4.8 meters shorter in wet conditions from 60mph.
Do winter tyres wear out quickly?
Winter tyres last as long as summer tyres and perform better in winter conditions.
Depending on your mileage, they may last for 2 or 3 winters and so save on the wear on your summer tyres - postponing their replacement.
How about in summer?
Snow tires tend to be noisier, plus the softer compounds from which they are made means they will wear out faster, especially in warm weather.
Our advice: as soon as the snow is gone for good, remove your snow tires and reinstall your regular tires.
Winter tyres are as comfortable as summer tyres?
It depends. The truth is modern winter tyres are as every bit as comfortable as summer tyres, sometimes more so thanks to an increased profile.
Two Tires or Four?
We recommend putting four winter tires on your vehicle, even if your vehicle is two-wheel drive.
The car may skid or have less control if only one axle pair is fitted. Plus you will stop quicker if you have four snow tires.
My car has all-season tires. Aren’t those good enough?
Short answer: Not really, no.
Long answer: All-season (also known as all-weather) tires are designed to cope with all sorts of conditions, including dry roads and rain, but are not optimized for any one condition.
UK: Although there is no legal requirement to use winter tyres, drivers in the United Kingdom are encouraged to use them by motoring organisations such as the AA, following the adverse winter weather conditions of 2010.
For peace of mind on your journey, make routine checks on your tyres.
- Every 4 weeks check the pressure of your tyres when they are cold.
- Check the tread depth of your tyres - the minimum legal UK tread depth is 1.6mm across the central 3/4 of the tyre, however tyres should be replaced before reaching level.
- As your tread depth decreases, your stopping distance in wet weather increases.Check your tyres for damage.
- Look out for any cuts, cracks or bulges as these can lead to slow punctures and blow-outs.
- Don’t forget to check the tread depth and air pressure of your spare tyre.
And Finally - Drive Safely this Winter!