Why no winter tyres

Road safety charity the IAM is offering weekly motoring tips from Britain’s top advanced driver, Peter Rodger. This week (31st October), he advised motorists on preparing their cars for the cold season, saying: “Now is the time to give your car a once-over before winter conditions take hold. Bad weather can strike suddenly and more severely than you expect, so it’s really important to be ready, rather than wait for the cold to arrive.” Winter tyres were noticeable by their absence.

Rodger gave the following simple tips on preparing a car for winter:

  1. In a UK winter you are most likely to encounter wind and rain, so make sure your windscreen wipers are in good condition, your screen wash is topped up and that the inside of your windscreen is clean  to help avoid misting up.
  2. Do a thorough check of your vehicle: check your engine coolant level and make sure last year’s ice scraper and de-icer are up to the job, and the battery is OK.
  3. The legal minimum for tyre tread in the UK is 1.6mm, but for optimum safety start looking for replacements if the depth is below 3mm.
  4. Test all your lights regularly, and change any bulbs that need it.  Now is a good time to get headlights checked for their “aim” – not too low to work, or too high so they dazzle.
  5. If the weather is getting icy/snowy, pack an emergency kit, including a warm coat, high visibility jacket, some food and water, a good pair of boots, de-icer and scraper, a torch, a spade and a mobile phone with a well-charged battery. Remember to store your emergency breakdown number in your mobile phone. 

Rodger said: “Many roads are still pot-holed after last winter, and we have just seen what the wind and rain can do.  Now is the time to start preparing for the winter.”

While this is good, sensible advice – and pleasing to note the importance Rodger places on having adequate tread depth – one wonders why there is no mention of fitting winter tyres? After all, they are specifically designed to perform better in the cold and, if you are looking for replacements for optimum safety (see point three) why not fit rubber that is specifically designed for the conditions? pg

 

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