WITH stormy weather set to hit the UK, it could be a good time to assess how safe your car tyres are.
Industry experts recommend having a winter set of wheels that are better suited for slippy road surfaces.
Severe weather warnings have been issued for large parts of the UK, as Storm Barra is set to bring 70mph gales and up to four inches of snow.
Those conditions could make driving dangerous, especially if your car isn’t prepared for stormy weather.
Winter tyres can make a difference in slippy and icy conditions, and some manufacturers make all-season tyres if you don’t want to change them every time cold weather rolls around.
But whatever you opt for make sure they’ve got plenty of tread that’s suitable for your driving and will help to keep you safe.
Depending on the size you require, prices for good quality winter tyres start at around £60, but that can increase to more than £120 each.
Here’s everything you need to know about winter tyres and how they could help save your life.
1. It’s not just snow and ice
Winter tyres perform the best at 7ᵒC and below, so they aren’t only good for snow and ice.
This is because winter tyres are made with a different rubber compound to standard tyres, which doesn’t harden in lower temperatures, meaning it can get a better grip on the surface below.
2. Braking distances
At colder temperatures when winter tyres are fitted, braking distances are improved.
If you are driving at 62mph on winter tyres in temperatures of 7ᵒC and brake on a wet road, your car will stop 4.8 metres sooner than if you were using standard tyres.
For driving on an icy road at 20mph, you will stop 11m sooner – the length of two and half average double-decker buses.
Less than a metre could be the difference between life and death, so stopping distances are vital.
3. Your car will drive better
When it’s colder, your vehicle will perform better on winter tyres.
The design aspects of the tyre, such as the tread pattern, and the rubber compound, increase traction and braking performance on cold surfaces.
More edges are available to transfer forces when turning bends or changing lanes at higher speeds.
This means it will be easier to travel and get around, even in extreme weather conditions.
4. You’ll spend less on fuel
In the right conditions, using winter tyres could make your car more economical on fuel. The structure of the tyre means lateral forces can be better transferred when steering and a more flexible sidewall means less energy is lost when deflecting or rebounding. Essentially, this means in colder conditions there is better rolling resistance and can make the car more fuel economical.
5. It’s just plain safer
Research shows drivers are six times more likely to have an accident in the winter than in the summer.
Fitting winter tyres can massively reduce the the risk of being another statistic.
Simon Benson, director of motoring services at AA Tyres, said: “Drivers should consider changing to winter tyres, which use a type of rubber and tread pattern designed to remain flexible in low temperatures.
“You should check your tyres regularly to make sure they are inflated to the correct pressure and above the recommended minimum tread depth for winter of 3mm, as this allows for better traction and faster braking which is imperative on icy roads.”
The DVSA has warned that motorists risk fines of up to £1,000 for driving with their windscreen covered in frost.
But drivers should avoid a dangerous trick to defrost windscreens quickly.
If you’re going to head out in the stormy weather, make sure you’ve got these 16 emergency items in your car.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun Money team?