I’m sure that for many of you if you have got to the point of looking at reviews then it’s fair to say that you already know a thing or two about winter tyres? But if you are new to winter tyres or require further information then the following pages will provide a range of information about what they are, how they work, how to get the best from them and where you legally need to use them.
So let’s begin – to give them their proper name we are talking about cold weather tyres! Yes they will work in the snow but they should not be called snow tyres, or even winter tyres if we are being proper and correct. The tyre manufacturers are keen to have these products described as cold weather tyres as they are the conditions that they are designed for. Whether it be cold and dry, cold and wet, snowy, slushy or icy, cold weather tyres will give optimum performance when compared to their summer counterparts.
If you imagine a piece of rubber in the winter time and how it becomes hard and brittle, well summer tyres do the same thing and this inflexibility makes them ineffective in colder conditions. Winter tyres are made of special rubber compounds that stay flexible in the cold which allows them to bite into the road/snow/ice and offer greatly improved handling and braking performance.
Cold weather tyres work at their best when the temperature is consistently below 7 degrees and at these temperatures offer greatly improved braking distances, the following video produced by one of the winter pioneers displays nicely the differences between summer and winter tyres, in terms of braking distances in varying conditions.
Traditionally cold weather tyres (now we know what they are, let’s call them winter tyres, since that’s the name of the site) were used in Scandinavia were large snow falls were expected annually. However now large parts of Europe have switched onto these safety critical products, recent developments include the law change in Germany where winter tyres became mandatory in 2010. Also winter tyre use in the UK has been increasing year on year for some time now. Originally this was off the back of the heavy snowfall experienced in 2010 & 2011 but as awareness increases more and more drivers and experiencing the benefits of having the right tyre fitted for the right conditions.