A Conversation for Winter Driving Guidelines

Winter tyres in the UK and EU

Post 1


This article, beng from 2003, is perhaps in need of a refresh. Of particular note is the advent of winter tyres since 2003, and the legal requirments in some countries.

Firstly rubber/tyres like anyhting else freezes and most modern tyres lose their grip below 7 centigrade. There are some useful videos on-line showing the huge differences in grip between summer tyres, all-season, and winter tyres.

Winter tyres should not be confused with snow tyres which are designed specifically to have high performance in snow. A winter tyre is designed to be active at low temperatures and that includes rain sodden roads as much as ice and snow covered roads.

Ther is also the advent of tyre-socks! which sounds cosy but thye do actually work in giving more grip in snow. However there are restrictions on speed and road types that make them an alternative but not necessarily a great alternative.

The sale of winter tyres has increased greatly in the UK over the few years and in 2011 Germany made them mandatory in certain conditions. For certain conditions read mandatory as the exceptions is something like sunny days in daylight. So if you use your car daily not a sensible way to go, however it does allow people with cars they use rarely to be used in winter without buying special tyres.

Modern car design has perhaps accentuated the need for better tyres with the advent of wider and wider tyres in even normal saloons. My experience of winter tyres has been very good - particularly as with very broad sports tyres cars become useless in snow and ice more quickly than cars with narrow tyres. You can appreciate that a 10"/265mm tyre tends to sit on top rather than bite into snow.

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Winter tyres in the UK and EU

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