Do you have winter tyres yet? If not don’t worry, you’re in the majority. But with many European counties having compulsory use of winter tyres, should we in the UK be having a think about it too?
The main issue for most users is the extra cost. We’ve been advised (mainly by our European counterparts) that they make drastic improvements to the vehicles that use them, both in traction and stopping distance, meaning less going forwards when you should be turning right. Winter tyres are now big business. For a few weeks a year is it important though?
Well how important is getting to work or running your business? All things need to be considered but if we all continued to get about when it snows by having winter tyres, we’d probably be a safer, happier, more relaxed nation in the winter.
Is it worth the extra cost though I hear the cry again? Well for starters your tyres would last twice as long. You’d also have the traction of a 4×4 without the cost of one. And the safety aspect is a no-brainer. Maybe if you don’t have a garage you’d have to pay a nominal fee to kwik-fit or like for a ‘tyre hotel’ (yes really) but it’s a fair trade-off.
The interesting thing is that winter tyres are not just for snow as many think, but for all winter use, as labelled. From temperatures 5-7 degrees C down they provide grip in the wet, ice and snow. The difference is apparently like chalk and cheese. In Germany they go on in October and come off in March – that’s 6 months use!
Transport Scotland has set up a working group to look at the mandatory use of winter tyres but in England we have no such thing as yet.
Our opinion on their use is, it depends. It’s really a personal decision. If you live in a remote area or your business needs you on the road, it does make sense, if simply for safety. For others staying at home or the public transport network may suffice. Each case is different and has to be assessed on its own requirements.
However, with the weather becoming more unpredictable and extreme its possible one day we may see mandatory use brought in. As for me, I borrowed a 4×4 to get to work this year (I know, I know), but next year I may be wearing the latest alpine rubber. So I’ll report back next year on my findings.
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The Jordon Team