Many British motorists have never even heard of winter tyres, or assume they’re a waste of money in a country that doesn’t get much snow. But winter tyres aren’t just for snowy conditions, they’re specially designed to provide better safety and grip when temperatures dip below 7°C. In the UK. Last year, the average temperature in the UK during winter was 4.5°C – and it was one of the mildest winters since 2000! Winter tyres allow your car to properly grip the road in wet, icy, and snowy conditions, improving handling, braking and overall safety.
So what’s the difference between winter tyres and summer tyres? Summer tyres don’t deal particularly well with low temperatures. Under 7°C, summer tyres become hard, meaning that the tyre tread cannot key into the surface of the road as well. This can lead to skidding, aquaplaning, extended braking distances and under-steering. All these things can be extremely dangerous on a busy road, even at speeds as low as 15mph.
The tread on winter tyres, in comparison, is made with smaller grooves and a more complex tread pattern, making it much better at gripping wet, icy or snowy roads. Winter tyres are also made from a different rubber compound, which is designed to work better in low temperatures by remaining soft.
Sometimes it’s hard to even get your car moving on a slippery surface – especially if you have standard summer tyres fitted. Winter tyres don’t have that problem, and will grip the road much more effectively, allowing you to pull away and drive up to speed much more easily. And as for stopping, at just 15mph, winter tyres allow your vehicle to brake a whole car-length sooner than summer tyres – a significant difference at a low speed, so you can imagine the difference at 30mph, or on a motorway at 60mph or more… For sudden braking on winter roads, winter tyres are much more effective, and can help to keep you and your passengers safe.
Cornering on summer tyres in wintry conditions can be hazardous, too. The front tyres tend to lose their grip, leading to under-steering. Even when this is mild, it greatly decreases the amount of control you have over your vehicle, meaning you could drift into the path of an oncoming vehicle, or even right off the road. With winter tyres, you have much better traction and control when cornering, even at higher speeds.
Winter tyres are a real essential during the colder months if you want to keep your car on the road. Get in touch with us at Grippy for advice on winter tyres, budget tyres and premium tyres to suit your vehicle. And for more examples of the benefits of winter tyres, check out the video below!