22nd January 2018
It’s an ever-lasting topic of discussion as the colder weather starts to draw in: should you get winter tyres, and what should you do to prepare your vehicle for a tough winter, even if the chances of snow and ice are fewer? Well the answer is yes, you should always prepare your vehicle for any winter emergency. We’ve pulled together some pointers to help you get started.
Since 2014, the UK has experienced mostly mild winters. Most of us at TysonCooper do not remember once having to defrost our windscreens last year. Last winter was particularly mild and although the jury is still out for this year, it is likely that this coming winter will follow suit.
If you live in a rural, northerly or westerly part of the UK, you may still experience frosts, icy roads and hazardous weather, as those in the path of Storm Eleanor will testify. As a responsible driver, what can you do to ensure that your vehicle is in top condition before any bad weather arrives in the early months 2018?
We look to the very sensible and seasonal advice that motoring organisations like the AA and the RAC provide. They discuss; certain driving styles, how to ensure you drive to the conditions around you and that you ensure the basics of your car have been checked properly either by you or by your dealer who services your vehicle. Making sure you have a breakdown kit with you, as well as winter footwear, a blanket and high vis when you go out may seem like stating the obvious, but it’s very easy to be caught out, especially if your working day started out bright and ended up with a snow flurry or a freezing fog.
Another thought for consideration is winter tyres, do you need them? A winter tyre is intended to offer you additional grip in cold conditions, particularly when you are driving in snow and ice. The difference between winter tyres and ordinary tyres are:
- Winter tyres have deeper tread grooves
- They use a much softer rubber compound
- They are specially designed with small sipes (jagged slits)
It is recommended that you have two sets of tyres for your vehicles, a set for everyday use and a set for winter. It is also recommended that you should not use winter tyres above an outside temperature of 7 degrees. This is due to the considerably poorer grip that is offered in warm weather, making handling and breaking distances much worse. That said it can sometimes be a burden having to change tyres with the unpredictable weather we get here in the UK.
As to whether you might need to change your tyres, we’d recommend another conversation with your dealership. They will be experienced in the requirements of your vehicle and the recommendations your manufacturer makes regarding your car’s type and model. They will also be able to service your vehicle ready for winter, which should give you peace of mind and they can highlight any particular weather challenges that you may not have considered.
Be aware of the current condition of your car and make sure you think about it well in advance of any bad weather arriving. If you do have to drive in bad conditions, make sure you plan your route before and leave earlier to get to your destination on time and mostly take extra care. A good way to check your route for any hold ups is using Twitter, this can be an excellent way of checking updates, as well as listening to local radio stations for travel news.