By Denna Bowman
Cold temperatures can have drastic effects on our tyres, which could result in you ending up having a nasty accident.
Guy Frobisher, head of road safety for Continental tyres, said: “Every winter we have problems because motorists are poorly equipped to cope. First many of us still refuse to slow down and a leave greater distance to the vehicle in front.
“We have a mix of snow, ice and excess water and all of these conditions combined with low temperatures will reduce the performance of conventional tyres and create the misery of an accident that could be avoided”.
The number of road accidents is six times higher in winter than the rest of the year as a result of road conditions and plummeting temperatures.
Drivers are being urged to make the switch to cold weather tyres as in other parts in Europe.
Mr Frobisher added: “If UK road users were on cold weather tyres we would not have seen as many problems as we have had with the enormous cost to the economy that represents.
“Much of our road network is at capacity so any disruption has a disproportionate effect and means the kind of chaos we are seeing now”.
Across Europe drivers will switch to cold weather tyres to combat the combination of poor conditions and freezing temperatures.
The rubber compound in cold weather tyres is designed to perform better below seven degrees Celsius.
Tyres remain supple thanks to a softer and cold-resistant rubber compound. The special tread pattern also adds to reduce the braking distance.
At just 20 mph on an icy road a car with conventional tyres will come to a standstill after 68 metres, some 11 metres – or over two car lengths – more than a car fitted with cold weather tyres.
Even as snow and ice melts road users will face problems and the risk of aquaplaning.
At 62 mph on a wet road with temperatures below seven degrees Celsius the stopping distance on conventional tyres is five metres more than with cold weather tyres fitted – more than the length of a car and potentially the difference between stopping safely or an accident.