Use the driving test to boost winter tyre knowledge, says Kwik Fit
Demand for winter tyres at Kwik Fit has quadrupled over the last four years, and the company anticipates a continued rise in orders. However the fast-fit network concedes that only a small number of UK motorists are purchasing season specific tyres and it says research shows that 68 per cent of drivers are uninformed about the differences between cold and warm weather tyres, while 23 per cent haven’t even heard of winter tyres.
The solution to this lack of awareness, Kwik Fit suggests, is for the Government to update the driving test to include knowledge of winter tyres. At present, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) Theory Test asks candidates 50 questions from a pool of nearly 1,000, but even with such a vast number of questions on a wide range of topics, the test doesn’t broach the topic of winter tyres whatsoever – despite their safety role in cold weather and mandatory status in some European countries.
“With more countries making winter tyres compulsory, and an increasing number of drivers switching to winter tyres in the UK, they are becoming a much more common feature of winter driving, and therefore should be part of the theory test,” said Roger Griggs, director of communications at Kwik Fit. “There are plenty of questions on tyres, and indeed some addressing driving in winter, but winter tyres are not covered. The theory test is the only time that the government has a truly captive audience and can educate new drivers about keeping safe on the road. The DSA should take this opportunity to make sure drivers know about the safety benefits of winter tyres.
“As well as being a safer choice, winter tyres also make financial sense,” Griggs added. “ They will last a number of seasons if they are stored properly over summer and obviously while the summer tyres are in storage, they won’t be wearing down.”
A survey involving a sample of 2,017 UK adults carried out by market research company ICM for Kwik Fit reveals Welsh motorists to have the lowest winter tyre awareness, with 75 per cent not knowing how they differ from summer tyres. Those in the East Midlands, North West and East of England need not cast a smug glance at their Cymry neighbours; respective ignorance in these regions was found to be 74 per cent, 73 per cent and 72 per cent. Scottish motorists, as may be expected, were the most educated when it comes to summer and winter tyres, yet even then a full 64 per cent of those surveyed didn’t know the difference.