Cold Weather Tyres: The Facts & Figures
After years of the UK experiencing mild winters, drivers need to make sure they are used to to the sort of conditions that can occur when it does get cold, leading to commutes in slush and icy weather which makes road conditions treacherous.
According to statistics published by the Department of Transport, the number of accidents that happen on British roads averaging at 6,693 in winter. This is an increase of 267 per cent when compared to the rest of the year.
Winter tyres can help to protect drivers against these conditions, with their composite make up allowing for better grip and safer driving when the temperature drops in winter.
Myth: We don't get cold enough weather for winter tyres
Many people believe that the average temperature in the UK is too warm for winter tyres to be effective, but this is actually a common misconception. Winter tyres are made so that they don't harden when the temperature drops, and they are effective at any temperature below seven degrees.
Given that the average temperature in winter months across the UK is 4.5 degrees and in fact, according to Tyresafe, in the winter of 2011 to 2012, there were 147 days when the temperature was below seven degrees, meaning winter tyres would have been very effective.
Why do cold winter tyres perform better?
Cold weather tyres work better when the temperature is low because of the composite rubber and silica in their design. This doesn't harden in the colder weather, which means that the tyres remain flexible, helping them grip the road more effectively.
They also have a more 'aggressive' tread pattern with far deeper grooves than standard tyres, which allows more of the tyre to be in contact with the road, improving grip. Contrary to popular belief, winter tyres are not studded.
The benefits of cold weather tyres also includes the fact that they have a far better braking distance. A standard tyre will take 68 metres to stop when braking on ice at 19mph, compared to 57 metres for winter tyres.