Mike Waters' Blog: 9 February 2010 - Solid foundations
09 February 2010
Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.
In recent years, drivers have been disrupted, delayed and frustrated by snow and ice on the roads and during this time drivers have regularly questioned why other countries seem to deal with this situation so much better than we do.
While it's a given that we don't experience extreme weather very often, and therefore are not used to dealing with it, there is a concern that many vehicles could be better equipped to deal with bad weather than they currently are, in particular through tyre selection.
Every year several motorists die and hundreds are injured on the UK's roads because their tyres are not up to scratch. With this in mind, it provides a simple yet essential area to get right and the use of specialist winter tyres could provide a means of reducing road risk as well as delays and disruption.
In several countries it is standard practise to change tyres depending on the season and using special tyres in the winter can deliver a range of benefits. Winter tyres have a tread pattern that is suited to clearing snow or water as you drive so they provide more grip which makes them easier to handle and reduces stopping distances.
In the UK most of us are using tyres more suited a warm, dry conditions whereas winter tyres come into their own when temperatures fall below seven degrees Celsius so are ideally suited to our colder months. The main downsides are that they create more road noise because of the tread pattern and can be more expensive for the driver - although this seems a small price to pay if it stops accident or injury.
There is also a compromise that The AA is highlighting: all-season tyres, a tyre that can perform in all but the most severe winter conditions. What's more, they cost about the same amount as a conventional tyre so is there is little reason not to swap.
With the weather becoming more unpredictable in recent years, all-season or winter tyres seem like a sensible alternative. Readily available and with very little cost implication it makes sense in terms of safety and mobility.