It is unreasonable to expect one tyre type to provide high safety levels with temperature ranges such as +30°C to -15°C in the UK. Winter tyres are designed to operate best in temperatures below 7°C and provide extra peace of mind for the motorist during the cold winter periods. The optimum fitment for safety is to fit standard (summer) tyres in the warmer months and winter tyres in the colder months.
There are significant performance differences between standard and winter tyres in wintry conditions:
- On wet roads at 62mph winter tyres stop 4.8m sooner
- On snowy roads at 30mph winter tyres stop 8m sooner
- On icy roads at 20mph winter tyres stop 11m sooner
Winter tyres have a high proportion of natural rubber which enables the tyre to remain flexible and grip even at low temperature. At 7°C the tread compound in standard tyres begins to harden and loses grip. Assuming a tread depth of at least 4mm, the modern winter tyre tread pattern delivers excellent grip not only on wet roads but on snow as well. A large number of sipes create biting edges that interlock with the wintry surface, thus guaranteeing reliable braking properties as well as impressive acceleration.
Winter tyres provide:
- Higher levels of road safety during the colder winter months.
- Shorter stopping distances compared to summer tyres, on both wet and dry roads at low temperatures.
- Improved mileage in winter weather when compared to summer tyres. The wear on summer tyres increases during the winter months reducing mileage by up to 20%.
Due to the different compounds and pattern designs of winter tyres in comparison to standard tyres, these should not be mixed on the same vehicle, and so should be fitted as a set. It’s also important to note when fitting winter tyres the speed rating may be lower than the standard equivalent.