With a cold weather warning sweeping the nation, now is the right time for drivers to pay particular attention to tyre safety for the coming wintry months, says TyreSafe.
That’s especially relevant to those who drive significant distances as the weather increasingly turns to the classic British experience of ‘all four seasons in a day’. That makes winter tyres an option for many but all road users should at least ensure tyres are in good condition and ready to face all possible road conditions.
As the UK’s average mean temperature is below 7°C throughout the winter months*, winter tyres become the optimal choice for motorists. Even at low temperatures, they stay supple and provide the best levels of grip unlike summer tyres which harden in these conditions. Winter tyres also have an increased number of ‘sipes’ or grooves in the tread allowing more contact with the road in icy or wet conditions.
All-season tyres are an increasingly popular option as they provide better performance than summer tyres in winter and are designed to be driven all year-round. However, they do not offer the optimal performance of summer tyres in warm weather or winter tyres in the cold.
When deciding whether winter or all-season tyres are their best option for the months ahead, TyreSafe is recommending owners consider their own driving requirements and, most importantly, ensure they and their tyres are prepared for winter driving.
That starts with checking the tyres are in good condition and free of visible signs of damage, they are inflated to the pressures recommended by the vehicle manufacturer and they have good tread depth above the 1.6mm legal minimum limit. Tread depth is especially important when driving in the wet as it clears water from between the tyre and the road, keeping grip levels at an optimum.
However, drivers should also be prepared for unexpected tyre-related incidents, especially with high winds scattering debris on the roads and increasing the risk of punctures. While only 8% of new cars are sold with a spare tyre as standard, many owners are not aware their vehicle doesn’t have one. This is in part due to the number of run-flat and ‘space saver’ tyres being fitted, allowing the car to be driven to the nearest tyre retailer for inspection. Emergency puncture repair kits may also be found in the boot of many cars.
TyreSafe recommends all drivers familiarise themselves with what their car is equipped with in case they suffer a puncture.
Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe, said: “The weather across Britain varies substantially, not just between regions but even by the hour. We’re now facing our first proper cold snap and being prepared is the universal advice for all drivers. In some instances that will mean winter tyres, in others all-season are an option but even those using summer tyres will enhance their safety by checking they’re roadworthy and knowing how to deal with a puncture if it does happen.”