By Denna Bowman
The safety benefits of cold weather tyres will last until the spring, according to a leading tyres organisation.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of Tyresafe, warns motorists: “There is a misconception that cold weather tyres are not appropriate for drivers in the UK.
“However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Cold weather tyres provide much better grip in both wet and dry conditions when the temperature falls below seven degrees, so they offer extra safety typically from October through to March.
“These tyres also have different tread patterns from ‘summer’ tyres making them more able to cope with snowy conditions. Those drivers who have chosen cold weather tyres will continue to benefit long after the current snow falls melt away.”
The recent snowy conditions have also highlighted the need for drivers to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth.
Vehicles travelling on tyres that have low or illegal tread depth have experienced poor levels of grip making acceleration, steering and braking difficult. This has lead to many motorists being stranded, often in remote locations, or involved in an accident.
In the snow, tyres need deeper tread to remain effective. The deeper grooves allow the tyre to ‘bite’ into the snow surface and provide better grip and traction. Tyres with low or illegal tread depth are unable to achieve this and the tyre simply spins or skids, meaning the driver has no control of the vehicle.
Current UK law stipulates that tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre around its entire circumference.
However, safety experts and tyres manufacturers warn drivers to replace their tyres when they reach 3mm in the winter – or at the very least when the tread depth shrinks to 2mm.