By Denna Bowman
Continental tyres is supporting the industry’s Tyre Safety month in October with a call for UK drivers to be aware of the safety benefits of winter tyres.
The tyres giant is reminding motorists that last winter’s Big Freeze saw many drivers unprepared and left stranded or involved in accidents which might have been avoidable if they had opted for winter tyres.
A Continental Tyres survey following the cold snap in January revealed that more than three million motorists had a run-in with another vehicle. One in 10 drivers had crashed into other road users during the snowy and icy weather and 45 per cent of those questioned said they had two or more near misses.
Across Europe this month, drivers will be getting their tyres changed to suit the weather conditions but the UK market for winter tyres is very small in comparison with our European counterparts.
Tracey Hyem, Continental brand manager, said: “We look on with envy at European countries that manage to keep business going as usual when a few flakes of snow bring our roads to a standstill. Those countries have a history of fitting the right tyres for the right season.
“Winter tyres are available to purchase in the UK from all good retailers. Our advice to drivers is to think about winter tyres early now. There’s no point in being stuck on your driveway when the snow starts falling.”
Tests comparing winter and standard tyres show that braking distances on snow from a speed of 30mph can vary as much as eight metres.
It is not just on snow and ice where drivers will see the benefits. Winter tyres provide shorter braking distances and better grip when the temperature drops below 7°C. This is when the rubber on standard tyres begins to harden and lose its grip to the road.
With average temperatures across the UK well below 7°C last winter, the safety benefits for UK road users should not be underestimated.