By Denna Bowman
The UK’s leading tyre safety organisation has spoken out about its disbelief and concern over the Government’s views on winter tyres.
TyreSafe has hit out after Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Transport, stated that winter weather tyres are not appropriate for UK situations.
Mr Hammond’s view contradicts many independent tests which have demonstrated how winter weather tyres are the safest option for drivers across the entire winter period.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, said: “Mr Hammond’s comments show a complete lack of understanding about modern winter tyres which are the ideal solution to the type of weather we are currently experiencing.
“Studless winter tyres are designed to provide much better grip over the entire winter period, not just for when people are driving for long periods on compacted snow as he implied. They do not damage road surfaces in any way and are wholly appropriate for the UK situation.”
Winter weather tyres can be used all year round but their performance is notably better when temperatures fall below seven degrees Celsius.
In these conditions ‘standard’ tyres begin to harden and lose their ability to grip the road surface properly. Winter weather tyres contain more natural rubber and advanced silica compounds to reduce the hardening process and improve grip.
Tests conducted by the British Tyre Manufacturers Association found that 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.
On ice and snow covered roads the difference was even more remarkable. The car equipped with winter tyres stopped 11 metres sooner on ice and eight metres sooner on snow, from just 20mph.
TyreSafe also strongly disputed Mr Hammond’s claim that “winter tyres wear out very quickly on normal road surfaces”. It stated: ….”this is not the case as in winter conditions, winter tyres do not wear any more quickly than conventional tyres and are manufactured with a deeper tread to improve performance”.