Winter tyres: what they are ?
Why you should be using them during the winter months?
There is a huge lack of awareness in the UK about winter tyres. Motorists are not aware they exist or they think that the tyre can only be used during times of heavy snow or ice.
Drivers will benefit from using winter tyres on ice, slush, frost and wet roads. Performance of winter tyres are any time the temperature dips below +7 degrees centigrade.
Why winter tyres?
What happens to a summer tyre when the temperature drops is that the tyre compound loses its flexibility, making it less grippy in low temperatures.
Winter tyres are made from specially developed compound with more natural rubber so they don't harden when it's cold, which means increased grip on the road and greater safety.
On ice and snow winter tyres provide grip that no summer tyre can match. A vehicle fitted with winter tyres will come to standstill on a snow-covered road (from a speed of just 30mph) after 35 metres – with normal tyres the braking distance required is a further 8 metres (43 metres). That is another two car lengths.
Safety during the winter months:
Drivers are six times more likely to have an accident during the winter months, with the numbers rising further when snow and ice add an extra hazard.
During the big freeze at the start of 2010, more than 3 million motorists had an accident and 45 per cent had two or more near misses according to a survey by Continental Tyres.
Nearly half of all accident claims are made during the winter months.
Motorists are unprepared for the wintry conditions when driving, and many are unaware that they can improve safety by switching to winter tyres.
Winter tyres are a legal requirement in other EU countries such as Austria, Germany and Finlandand many offer specific winter recommendations. There is however, no legislation or guidance in this country and most people aren't even aware of winter tyres. There isn't anything in the Highway Code on the subject.
When should I fit winter tyres to my car?
It is recommended that you switch to winter tyres in the UK between October and April.
If you are reluctant to change tyres and have nowhere to store summer tyres when they are not in use, you are better off using winter tyres all year round.
Winter tyres are as quiet and comfortable as summer tyres and, thanks to sophisticated compound technology, do not wear any more quickly.
There is a slight trade off with stopping distances as a winter tyre does not stop as quickly in the dry as a summer tyre, however, on balance if it is not possible to switch tyres in the winter, experts say you are better off with winter tyres all year round. This is because the difference in stopping distances of summer tyres in winter is far greater than for winter tyres in the summer.
Winter safety tips:
- Check your tyres: The legal limit for tread depth on tyres is 1.6mm, but safety experts at Continental Tyres recommend a minimum of 3mm for wet weather safety. Ensuring tyres are correctly inflated will also improve your cars handling as well as saving you money.
- Check your lights are clean and working
- Visibility is vital. Keep your windscreen and windows clear
- Reduce your speed on slippery surfaces and avoid harsh braking or acceleration
- At low speeds use second rather than first gear to avoid spinning the wheels
- To slow the car change down and use engine braking but if you need to use the brakes apply them gently
- Allow up to ten times the normal braking distance, especially on motorways
- Increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front – in rain, ice and snow leave enough space to stop safely
- Put together an emergency kit, such as food, drink, torch and extra clothing, for journeys in severe winter weather, and keep it in the back of your car
- Plan ahead and allow enough time to get to your destination.
On LDC HULL TAXI we check all of this every morning before to take you in our cars.
Safety is our firs priority !!!
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