SMMT back winter tyres with media event
The SMMT, and the journalists the association invited to a recent media event, have come out in support of using winter tyres. “Tyres can have a major effect on a car’s performance, improving its safety and keeping it moving in winter conditions,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “Winter tyres provide greater grip and handling, reducing braking distances in cold, wet conditions as well as on snow and ice. With temperatures starting to drop and the wetter seasons approaching, motorists should make sure they have the best tyres for the road and climate conditions.”
The consensus was that a set of winter tyres should not be viewed as a cost, but an investment. By swapping from summer to winter rubber for half the year, both sets will wear half as much, lasting twice as long as a single set of tyre.
On the Continent, many countries have legislation that requires the fitment of tyres appropriate for the climate with a summer/winter tyre change a common occurrence. In Germany, winter tyres represent 48 per cent of the market while even the likes of Holland and Belgium have 18 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. In the UK, the past two harsh winters saw the cold weather tyre market grow significantly, with the market 10 times bigger than in 2003/4 but the size of the market is still tiny compared to other European countries, with just 0.4 per cent of the market using winter tyres.
According to the British Tyre Manufacturers’ Association, a car fitted with winter tyres, braking from 62mph on a cold, wet road, will outbreak a summer tyre by around five metres. On snow at 30mph the difference is 11 metres, while the same vehicle breaking on an icy road at just 20mph would pull-up eight metres shorter – a crucial two car lengths less than a vehicle using summer tyres.