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Travel Safely with Winter Tyres

Your tyres are the only part of your car between you and the road. Your safety relies on the contact patch of your tyre, which is roughly the size of the palm of your hand. This makes tyre choice in hazardous conditions a vital decision. There are around 6,500 more accidents in winter than there are in summer* and nearly 3million drivers had 3 near collisions in the winter of 2013.** Find out how you can avoid becoming a statistic this winter.

What are Winter Tyres?

Winter tyres haven’t been around in the UK for a very long time. They are more commonly used in Europe where they have become a legal requirement as winter months are much more extreme. As temperatures start to dip below 7°C, the rubber compound used in the construction of a standard tyre begins to harden. That equates to about 150 days in the UK! A different type of rubber compound is used in the construction of winter tyres. This compound includes a higher percentage of silica which means the tyre stays flexible in harsh cold temperatures, allowing them to maintain grip and remain more responsive than a standard tyre.

How do Winter Tyres Perform?

Ultimately winter tyres aim to give you shorter stopping distances and resistance to aquaplaning on wet and slushy roads. As well as the specialist compound used in winter tyres – there are other features that winter tyres sport which make them perform as above and become a valuable asset for your vehicle in the winter months...

Better grip: The ability for winter tyres to remain soft and flexible in low temperatures enables the tyre to grip more efficiently. The contact patch is increased and this enhanced grip leads to better braking and increased traction and handling. Driving in wet, snowy or icy conditions becomes much more easy and safe.

Greater control: Manufacturers have specifically designed the tread patterns for their winter tyres, to achieve maximum performance in winter conditions. Better grip and traction is possible as a result of more grooves in the tread, as well as making these grooves deeper. Studs are also used in the design to help enhance control. Everything about the visual appearance of a winter tyre, has been added in order to optimise control for the driver and maximise safety.

Saving you money: A set of winter tyres can save you money over the winter months. Winter tyres can improve fuel efficiency by up to 20%. This is in comparison to using tyres designed for summer driving, during winter months.

Identifying Winter Tyres

Mud and Snow grip ability tyre symbol

The M&S marking: The M&S marking stands for Mud & Snow grip ability. This refers to the tread pattern only – not the compound used to make the tyre. Tyres with this marking have grooves on the outside of the tread that extend into the centre to enable grip on mud and snow. M&S symbols appear on most all-season tyres as well as on off-road and all-terrain tyres.

Snowflake on mountain symbolises an approved winter tyre

The Snowflake on the Mountain: The RMA defines that a “snow” or “winter” tyre should bear the marking of the snowflake on the mountain. This symbol indicates severe snow ability. This is due to the combination of specialist compound and tread pattern and this is what gives a tyre its status as a winter or cold weather tyre.

If you would like to find out more about winter tyres for your vehicle, call your nearest HiQ Easy Tyre & Autocentres branch for more information.