Drivers are far more likely to be involved in a road accident during the winter months, than any other time of the year, according to figures.
This is because wet and freezing weather increases a vehicle's stopping distance – so they’re more likely to collide with vehicles in front of them. To minimise this danger, many drivers equip their motors with winter tyres between October and March, since they offer better grip than regular tyres. Winter tyres are compulsory in countries such as Austria and Finland where road conditions deteriorate during the winter months. While winter tyres are not a legal requirement in the UK, there are a number of benefits to use them.
What's the difference?
Winter tyres have special tread patterns that prevent the build-up of snow and ice – these patterns usually include wide grooves and narrow slits – thus providing better grip. Winter tyres are also made from a different material to standard tyres. The rubber used on winter tyres remains soft, even when temperatures drop below zero, whereas the rubber used for standard tyres stiffens in temperatures below 7°C. In warmer weather, winter tyres tend to wear out quicker. Similarly, standard tyres can wear out up to 40 per cent quicker in cold conditions, so it makes sense to alternate between both types of tyres, depending on the time of year.