Braking distances in winter

Drivers are six times more likely to be involved in an accident during the winter months. This is because wet roads, slippery leaves, snow and ice can create hazardous driving conditions and daylight hours are much reduced. Research carried out by Ford shows that having winter tyres fitted to your vehicle can improve your braking distances by 10% in the rain, and 20% in the snow, compared with summer tyres. As you can see from the braking distance graphic below, winter tyres can make the difference between being able to stop safely in an emergency and being involved in an accident.

It doesn’t need to snow for drivers to see the benefit of winter tyres. The rubber compound in summer tyres starts to harden as soon as the temperature drops below seven degrees. This hardening reduces the tyre’s ability to grip on cold, damp or wet roads resulting in longer stopping distances than during warmer months. Winter tyres have been designed with higher silica content in the rubber compound, making them more resistant to the cold. The tread pattern of winter tyres has also been adapted and additional features such as sipes added to improve handling, grip and reduce braking distances. For more information on winter tyre technology, click here.

If you are concerned about the cost of winter tyres it is important to bear in mind the cost of being involved in an accident. Winter tyres provide higher levels of road safety throughout the winter and can cost significantly less than the risks, insurance excess, recovery costs, annoyance and lost time associated with an accident. It’s also important to remember that your car won’t be wearing through its summer tyres when winter tyres are fitted instead.

An alternative option to winter tyres is the use of snow socks which can be fitted on top of your summer tyres. However, they do not offer the same level of safety as winter tyres when it comes to both traction and reducing braking distances as can be seen by the image below. Although the cost of snow socks is lower than that of winter tyres, that comparison is like the similarity between apples and pears. Snow socks wear very quickly, unlike winter tyres which can last for two or three winters. Of course they are designed for emergency use only and solely for driving on snow, unlike winter tyres which can be used continually on all road surfaces during winter months.

To buy winter tyres online now use the search box above, or for more information call etyres’ National Sales Team on 0800 028 9000.