The Institute of Advanced Motorist is the latest organisation to warm to the idea of fitting winter tyres.
The IAM is warning drivers that many of Britain’s roads are likely to become more hazardous as local councils cut back on highway maintenance.
Despite the last two winters of severe cold, snow and ice, many councils are planning to cut back on winter road services, including salting, exposing motorists to dangerous driving conditions, according to the IAM.
It warns that budget estimates from the Department for Communities and Local Government show a 3.6 per cent decrease in estimated spending for salting roads, snowploughing, and standby arrangements across England. This represents a significant cut when inflation is considered.
Sixty-seven councils appear to be reducing the amount they are spending on winter road services, with 33 budgeting more than ten per cent less than last year. Most worryingly 21 councils appear to have budgeted over 30 per cent less than they did last year.
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “Roads are essential for the economy – not only in rural areas where cars are the only way to get around but also on the main routes that keep our economy moving.
“Ambulances, supermarket food deliveries, meals on wheels, utilities, even the armed forces, all rely on having a usable road network. Last year, parts of Scotland nearly ran out of food and fuel. The 24-hour, just-in-time logistics system simply wasn’t able to cope with the weather.
“Councils must make contingency plans to ensure that essential supplies can always get through, no matter what the weather. This has to include dealing with large numbers of drivers stranded for hours with no access to heat or food.”
It is even more important that drivers and riders take care in severe weather conditions, given reduced winter road services, which is also why the IAM has produced a list of tips and advice for driving in the snow, including:
“You can also improve car performance in snow by fitting winter tyres. Winter tyres have a different tread pattern to give better grip on snow and ice and have a snowflake on a mountain as a symbol on the sidewall. The symbol indicates that they use winter grade rubber which stays flexible and maintains grip to well below freezing. The rubber used on standard tyres hardens as the temperature drops.”
For more information go to http://www.iam.org.uk/latest_news/councilsgivewinterroadsthecoldshoulder.html
Denna Bowman, Head Office