The Importance of Winter Tyres for Safety

No one thinks it happens to them, until it does. “I will manage,” is what you hear when people are told they should be prepared for tricky driving conditions in winter. That’s because we all think we are great drivers. So if anything should happen, if the car skids out of control, or if it gets stuck in the snow on the driveway, we think we can manage. And then someday it happens, and we realize no, we cannot manage without the proper tools and equipment.

So as they say in the movies, let’s cut to the chase. Unless you drive a rugged off-roader with massive chunky tires, you are going to need winter tyres in the winter. You may think they are an unnecessary expense for just three or four month every year. But when you take into account that they could mean the difference between life and death, or serious injuries, they suddenly appear like a sound investment. Tyres designed specifically to work in winter are a much better solution than renting a SUV or getting snow chains. They are especially better than the latter option because they are more practical. In fact, they are very low maintenance. Just make sure you the proper amount of air in them and you are good to go.

Winter Tyres are in fact so effective, it is said a two-wheel drive car with winter tyres is more capable of snow and ice than a four-wheel-drive vehicle with summer tyres. Of course, if you live somewhere like Alaska or Siberia, you are going to need to combine the two and get yourself a 4WD car equipped with winter tyres. But anyone else can just get a set of good winter rubber and ensure the safety and workability of their regular hatchback or sedan during the cold season. That is why these tyres are a good investment. When winter is gone you can just switch back to your summer tyres and put the winter models in the garage till next year.

The way winter tyres contribute to your safety and peace of mind while driving snow and ice is by improving traction. IT works both ways, giving you enough surface friction to get going when regular tyres just spin themselves silly, and providing enough grip to stop in a shorter distance. The latter is of course is of utmost importance. In between going and stopping they improve the handling and maneuverability of the vehicle. You only need to see a video online of an ice slalom course taken in a car with winter tyres and then in one without them to notice the huge difference.

As for what makes winter tyres so effective in dealing with tricky conditions, it comes down to two things: compound and tread. With special chemicals that enable the rubber to remain softer and more pliable in low temperatures, winter tyres huge the surface, as it were, better and produce more grip and traction.  They also have more grooves within the tread blocks than normal tyres and higher groove to rubber ratio to help clear water and reduce aquaplaning.

These points should be enough to convince anyone that winter tyres are a vital part of safe driving. Again, do not think that you will be able to “manage” with your standard tyres. Do not put at risk your safety and that of your loved ones for a few hundred bucks.

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