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Winter tyres increase safety

2 November 2010

The majority of UK motorists feel less safe driving in the winter, but nearly a fifth fail to make any preparations to their car to cope with the adverse conditions.

Research from TyreSafe, found that drivers fear having an accident most in winter, when roads are slippery. One solution to this is to switch to winter tyres.

Winter tyres are specifically designed to cope with cold, damp conditions. They offer better grip, reduced stopping distances and improved safety across the entire winter period when compared to 'standard' tyres, particularly in wet and cold conditions.

TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson explains, "There is a misconception that they only offer better performance in snow and ice, but this is a very outdated view. Technology has advanced significantly and modern winter weather tyres provide much better safety in a range of conditions over a substantial part of the year."

Tests have proved that winter tyres significantly improve grip and reduce stopping distances in temperatures that drop below 7?Celsius because, unlike normal driving tyres, they do not harden. This enables them to maintain better traction in low temperatures as well as in the wet and on snow, slush and ice. Tests found that stopping distances were reduced by 4.8 metres on wet roads and 11 metres on icy roads when travelling at 20mph.

Winter weather tyres can be used all year round but their performance is notably better in colder weather. 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.

Quentin Wilson demonstrates the difference winter tyres make in this video

These recommendations from RoadSafe,TyreSafe and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders echo those set out by government in its review of England’s infrastructural resilience during winter, which outlines recommendations for industry to develop technical solutions to be better prepared for adverse weather conditions.