Does your fleet need winter tyres?
by Fiona Taylor
Will winter tyres make your fleet safer?
The cold weather is coming, and it won’t be long before the snow and ice hit the roads, making driving difficult for everyone. Is there anyway that you can make your fleet safer? Should you be getting winter tyres for your vehicles?
What are winter tyres?
Winter tyres are tyres designed specifically for cold weather. They are made to stay supple in colder temperatures, and will maximise traction if driving on snow and ice.
Normal ‘summer’ tyres stiffen up when the temperature drops, so a replacement for the winter could be a good idea. Winter tyres use a type of rubber (with a high silica content) and a tread pattern designed to stay flexible in low temperatures (below +7C) to give better braking and handling performance on snow and ice as well as on wet roads in cold conditions. These different tyres will be marked with a symbol showing a snowflake or snow-topped mountains.
Pros of having winter tyres
- Good at gripping in cold conditions
- Improved traction on slippery surfaces
- designed to ‘gather’ snow in their grooves
Cons of winter tyres
- Poorer performance in temperatures they are not designed for
- increase in braking distance
- reduced grip on bends
- Wear faster than normal summer tyres if used in warmer temperatures
Do you need winter tyres in the UK?
Unlike in some countries, winter tyres are not mandatory in the UK. However they can be a useful investment if you live somewhere remote and are more likely to get cut off if bad weather strikes.
For drivers who have access to well serviced urban roads it is harder to justify the cost and hassle of changing all 4 of your tyres twice a year.
If you decide that changing your tyres each autumn and spring is not an option then just ensure that you tyres are in good condition. Make sure that there is at least 3mm of tread left across the tyre width. You can read our blog about checking your tyres here. Look for any signs of damage to the sidewalls as well as the tread. Sudden tyre failure is not wanted at any time, but especially not if it is icy on the roads.