What Are Winter Tyres and Are They Worth It?

Posted on 07 December 2018 by CarTakeBack

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We've all seen the adverts, cars with ultimate control whilst dashing through the show, but with what is a relatively low number of days of snowfall in the UK, are winter tyres actually worth it?

Snow appears for around 15 days for us on average, and it makes sense that winter tyres are ideal for driving when the roads are dusted with white. However, despite what the adverts show, winter tyres aren't just for driving around during a blizzard.

As well as tackling snowy roads, winter tyres are designed to give you an optimum driving experience in temperatures below 7ºC, which, with an average temperature in December last year of 4ºC, makes them ideal for our climate during the winter months. But what do the tyres actually do?

Winter tyres in the snow

They help you break more efficiently in cold weather.

Winter tyres are made with a softer tread, making the tyres more flexible and grip better in lower temperatures. On a wet, cold road, whilst going 62 miles per hour, a car with winter tyres have a breaking distance of five meters less than one with summer ones. If a car is going 30 miles per hour on a road with a layer of snow on it, it has a breaking distance 11 meters shorter when using winter tyres.

Their tread pattern works with snow and slush.

Snow is sticky! Winter tyres have tread patterns different to their summer counterparts, which traps snow and slush, rather than sticking to the outside of your tyres, which makes your car prone to skidding.

They have sipes.

Sipes are narrow slits cut into the surface of the tyre, which improves the traction of a car driving in wet, icy or snowy conditions, by 'biting' into the substance that's covering the road.

Tread on a winter tyre

So, are they worth it?

Continental Tyres, a manufacturer of winter tyres, did a summer vs winter tyre test, and 9 of the 10 people who took part would consider fitting winter tyres ready for the next cold snap. Winter tyres can be expensive, but if you do lots of driving over the colder months, they could be a good investment for your safety.

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