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Will winter tyres keep me safe when driving in the snow and ice?

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November 7, 2017
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Winter tyres are not compulsory in the UK but sales are growing year-on-year as more drivers seek extra grip in the wet, snow and ice.

Why buy winter tyres? Well you wouldn’t go for a winter hike in the North York Moors wearing flip-flops or deck shoes, so why take the risk with your car tyres when driving in the snow?

Winter tyres are designed to improve safety in cold weather. They really come into their own when the temperature drops below 7 degrees Celsius – and it’s done that already this year.

Normal summer tyres can harden in cold weather and this means they are more prone to aquaplaning in puddles and stopping distances will increase too, especially in icy conditions. 

Winter tyres are made using a rubber compound that does not harden when the temperature falls.

Deeper tread in winter tyres aids grip in ice and snow

Winter tyres usually have deeper tread to add extra grip and disperse surface water, making them safer and more effective than summer or all-year-round tyres.

Using winter tyres depends on where you live and how you drive your car. In the winter months temperatures in the UK regularly drop below 7 degrees Celsius but rural drivers and those in areas with high snowfall and wet weather will be more likely to need the tyres.

If most of your driving is done in the daytime in areas where the roads are relatively clear, it may be that you do not need to take on the expense of fitting winter tyres.

Winter tyres perform worse than normal tyres in temperatures over 7 degrees Celsius, so it is important to change back when the weather gets warmer.

winter tyres

Shop around for the best winter tyre deals

Winter tyre prices will vary depending on the manufacturer, but they are competitive and you could expect to pay around £50 a tyre.

However you may have to pay fitting costs and to have your normal tyres stored over the winter months.

If a change of tyres is too expensive, there are alternatives.

For shorter journeys winter tyre socks, or snow socks, can be fitted. They cost from around £50 and can be slid over the wheel to provide extra grip on shorter journeys. These are useful in light snowfall.

Snow chains are cheaper and they also give you extra grip. They are usually sold in pairs and are easily fitted to your drive wheels.

Still worried about driving safely in the winter? Check out the Adrian Flux advice for driving in the snow.

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