posted 7 years ago

Winter Tyre Safety

Winter tyre safety is the big issue of the moment.

Winter tyre safety is the big issue of the moment. After all, October to January are traditionally the wettest months of the year so the roads could become slippery at any moment. It is easy to forget that the only part of your car that clears rain water – and prevents it sliding-off the road – is its tyre tread. The legal minimum depth is 1.6mm across the central 75% of the tyre, and around its entire circumference. However, it is preferable to replace a tyre when its tread reaches 3mm. Performance beyond this point can be very poor – and there is no merit whatsoever in driving on less than perfect rubber.

Stuart Jackson, Chairman of Tyresafe, explains: “Adequate tread depth is essential for grip in wet conditions. Drivers who fail to make sure their tyres have enough tread not only risk their own life but also that of other road users who may be involved in any subsequent tyre related accident. However, making sure your tyres are safe and legal only takes a few minutes and is now incredibly easy thanks to the 20p test.”

Checking your tyre tread is very simple. Insert a 20 pence coin in the main grooves of the tyre. If the outer band of the coin is visible then the tyre may not have sufficient tread depth and should be checked by a qualified specialist. Handy tip there, but motorists can get more precise readings via manual tread depth gauges. These only cost a few pounds.

Jackson concluded: “It was only two years ago that the UK had the wettest November since records began in 1914. By checking your tyres and making sure they have sufficient tread depth, drivers can be safe in the knowledge that they can still driver safely, no matter what the heavens throw at us this winter.”

I can confirm that winter tyres make a massive difference in grip even on damp roads - they are far more effective at temps below 8°c. The difference these make cannot be understated, but can be hard to accept until you try them yourself. I was just as sceptical until I fitted a set a few years ago. They cost about the same as a set of performance summer tyres for my car, and they lasted for 4 winters and one summer after that, bringing the cost down to £90 per winter. When you realise both the added convenience they give, by allowing you to keep moving (and crucially stopping safely) in even the harshest of UK winter weather, and safety - they could literally save your life and those of others, but are almost certain to save at the very least a costly insurance claim, then it's clear that under £100 per winter over 4 years is not a huge expense for safety and piece of mind. I've been there, I've had the snowy/icy accident and I won't go back to normal tyres in the winter. 'Seeing is believing'. have a search for the recent autoexpress video "Winter tyres vs summer tyres" if you're still not convinced. It shows the difference on wet roads, as well as on snow.

I know all to well the effects of poor grip and black ice on xmas eve 09 i crash my beloved car overtaking im lucky to be here!!! my car was a wreck cost me thousands to fix. and I mist a lamp post by inches.

I bought a set of winter tyres last year and the difference driving on snow and ice is staggering. It feels like driving on a gravel drive, compared with driving on sheet ice. They are also much better on cold wet roads. There is an initial cost, but your summer tyres are not wearing out during the winter so they will last 6 months longer - I think winter tyres actually wear at the same rate as all year tyres. You can either get a cheap set of wheels and swap over the wheels, or I believe some places are offering a "tyre hotel" service. I went for wheels and and a cheap trolley jack. You can also get some nice tyre bags for storage.

I might add winter tyres are more expensive, so if anyone expects me to fork out the difference then the price of fuel better plummet!

how much do these winter tyres cost

Kevin !-!Kevin !-!Kevin - You must be one sad,lonely young man - desperate for some female attention!! ANY female ATTENTION..!!!!I'm over 60 hun..and I have no doubt that I would wear you out - in any debate - regarding women and activities that are viewed as traditionally male perogatives - and my daughter is taken - sorry!!!

Sorry to see Kevin Dales sexist comments are accepted here. I happen to live in the gateway to the highlands and have no problems driving in all winter conditions, and thats without winter tyres I might add. As long as your tyres have plenty tread on them it should be fine.

My husband is insistent that the tyre pressure should be lower than usual for more grip???

i am ex military and have done 15 winters in Norway, mostly in the North. before we are allowed to drive on their roads we have to take a training day on the skid pan, which all Norwegian drivers have to take before being allowed to drive in the winter. maybe we should concider something similar in this country

Agnes, all tyres have minimum tread depth indicators running down the centre tread, if you run your finger round the gap, you will find a wear indicator every 20cm or so, when the tread in level with the wear indicator then the tyres need replacing. watch out though as this indicator does not cover the tread at the edges of the tyres, so if your tracking is off for example, the tyre may be worn sooner on the edges than the centre of the tread. in this case the tyre will need replacing even if the minimum depth has not been reached at the centre.

Kevin Dale if you had a brain you'd be dangerous ... as a woman driver I know where I'd like to put my Winter tyres and at this moment it's not on my car!

Valid point, but due to the ever worsening winters experienced in the UK, it is time people started winter tyres as they do in certain countries in Europe. Not only is it alot easier to drive on wintery roads, they help to reduce accidents due to better road grip. This advantage does not apply to women drivers, because they are incapable of driving irrespective of road conditions.

The majority of northern Europe excluding the UK fits winter tyres as standard over the months of November through to March. During that period those countries experience 40% less RTA's than the UK. Maybe this is a coincidence but I, like the majority of Brits, dismissed the argument for winter tyres until fitting them myself. I was immediately surprised at the noticeable difference in traction and grip in the wet and cold and last winter when everyone else was parking their cars at the side of the road on the North Circular I just carried on driving. A good pair of winter tyres is reckoned to last 2 winters or more and as long as they are stored in a cool dark place when not on the car they will carry on making a sizeable difference in the wet and cold the following year.

Can you please do a diagram of showing the 20p coin testing the tyre of what is acceptable and another of what is not acceptable?