Are your tyres ready for winter?

Did you know winter tyres can reduce breaking distance in snow by as much as 50% while also enabling a car travelling at 20mph to stop 11m earlier?

That’s the message from roadside assistance company Allianz Global, which has urged drivers to be prepared for the widespread snow predicted across the UK in the coming weeks.

Standard tyres harden in temperatures below 7°C, compromising their grip on wet or icy road.  Winter tyres, however, are made from a softer, specially formulated rubber compound designed specifically for use in these temperatures.

Colin Watt, head of service delivery at Allianz Global Assistance in the UK, said, ‘Unlike drivers in some European countries, most UK motorists are inexperienced at driving in harsh winter conditions, yet shy away from taking precautions such as swapping their summer tyres for winter tyres.

‘Historically, this may have been because people believed winter tyres to be a financial burden, not helped by the fact that some motor insurers levied premiums for those who had the wisdom to fit them. However, times have changed.

‘We’re seeing car manufacturers offer affordable winter tyre packages through their dealer networks, easing the cost significantly. Some dealers will even swap your wheels over and keep your summer tyres in storage over the winter, reducing the inconvenience of storage.

‘As cold weather degrades regular tyres by up to 40%, swapping to winter tyres during the cold months not only provides additional safety, it also starts to make financial sense. Furthermore, the Association of British Insurers has launched the Motor Insurance Commitment which promotes those insurers who don’t ask for an additional winter tyres premium provided that the tyres meet the relevant vehicle manufacturers’ specifications.’

He concluded, ‘With the winter arriving across the country the safety benefits of fitting winter tyres cannot be underestimated. When you take into consideration the support being provided by car manufacturers in providing free storage of summer tyres, coupled with additional financial benefits of reduced wear over summer tyres, the choice is a much simpler one to make.’