The summer has arrived and we’ve been enjoying some lovely weather recently, so it might not seem like the best time to be mentioning winter tyres, but for fleet managers and businesses which rely on keeping their vehicles mobile whatever the conditions, we’ve spotted an interesting story about their increasingly popularity.
According to Goodyear Dunlop, demand for winter tyres from police forces across the UK increased by nearly 30% from 2012 to 2013.
The rise highlights the growing demand for more reliable and predictable performance during winter months according to Kieran Panchal, Goodyear Dunlop fleet key account manager.
He explained: “The common misperception about winter tyres is that they only really deliver in the snow – but in fact winter tyres can improve performance in more common cold weather conditions, such as in the wet and icy temperatures.
“It’s also easy to forget that during 2013 the UK experienced 124 days of ground frost – there may have been little or no snow, but braking and cornering are heavily impacted when the ground temperature is near or below 0 degrees Celsius.”
When temperatures drop below seven degrees Celsius the tread compound in ‘normal’ summer tyres begins to harden, changing their performance and reducing road safety.
However, with a higher content of natural rubber in their tread compound and advanced silica compounds, winter tyres function at their best in these cold damp conditions and are able to provide better grip, shorter stopping distances and overall improved safety.
Tests conducted by the British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association demonstrated how a car braking at 60mph on a wet road at five degrees Celsius stopped five metres shorter – equivalent to more than one car length – when fitted with winter weather tyres.
In icy and snowy conditions the differences were even more dramatic. At 30mph on snowy roads the difference increased to eight metres and on icy roads at just 20mph, the difference increased to nine metres.
Panchal continued: “Clearly those fleets with vehicles required to be on the road all year round don’t want to see any change in performance between the summer and winter months. We know that the most effective way to ensure more predictable and safer performance during cold weather conditions is to fit winter tyres.”