Stay Safe This Winter With These 7 Tyre Tips

Citroen with Wheelwright Winter wheels and tyresTyre safety organisation Tyresafe has published a list of seven essential checks to carry out on your car’s tyres this winter to make sure you stay safe.

This doesn’t just mean ‘fit winter tyres’. There are plenty of things you can do to make sure that your summer tyres provide the best performance possible and stay legal (although fitting winter tyres is still the best option for winter roads).

The advice from TyreSafe comes just days after the Department for Transport issued its latest road casualty report which showed that in 2010, there were more than 1,200 road casualties in the UK from tyre related accidents, emphasising the need for better tyre care.

7-Point Tyre Safety Check List:

  1. Make sure your tyres have adequate tread depth to keep you safe and legal by taking the 20p test
  2. Ensure your tyres are properly inflated and checked at least once a month and before any long journeys
  3. Check the condition of your tyres by looking for any lumps, bulges or cracks and remove any objects embedded in the tread
  4. When checking the tread, pressures and condition, don’t forget the spare
  5. Consider fitting winter weather tyres for the whole winter period. At temperatures below 7 degrees C they provide much better safety and grip
  6. Remove wheels or jack the weight off any vehicles’ tyres that will not be used over the winter months such as caravans, horseboxes or motorcycles
  7. Visit your nearest participating tyre dealer for a free tyre safety check

I would like to emphasis the 20p test – tyres that are down to the legal minimum 1.6mm tread depth will provide significantly less grip and longer breaking distances than tyres with 3mm or more tread. That applies in summer or winter – below 3mm, braking distances increase and grip decreases.

At 1.6mm, your tyres will still pass an MOT but they won’t be as safe as they were with 3mm or more tread. In snow, they will be diabolical and provide virtually no grip.

Still Thinking About Winter Tyres?

In case you are still thinking about winter tyres, check out this video from Tyresafe, showing cornering and braking performance on ice for two identical cars – one with summer tyres, and one with winter tyres.

Anyone who has driven in snow and ice will understand how the driver of the car with summer tyres feels, but you may be surprised at how much difference there is in the behaviour of the car with winter tyres:

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