Fleet News

Winter tyres improve fleet driver safety, says Volvo

A test conducted by Volvo Car UK has shown how winter tyres could help keep company car drivers safer in treacherous road conditions in the coming months.

Two identical Volvo V40 D2 hatchbacks – one on standard tyres and another on winter tyres - headed to the Tamworth Snowdome, an indoor ski slope, to see if either one could be driven to the snowy summit. An amateur driver tested both cars back-to-back for a snow driving test that will mirror the experiences of millions of motorists this winter.

The test was then repeated using snow socks – a low cost, temporary alternative to a full set of winter tyres – to see if they could improve the performance of standard tyres in slippery conditions.

According to the firm, the results should be enough to dispel any remaining doubts about the advantages of fitting winter tyres. While standard rubber reached a distance of just five metres, the winter tyres carried the V40 comfortably past the 100-metre marker and onwards towards the summit of the slope. The winter tyres’ softer rubber compound gripped the surface far more effectively, retaining stability and traction, and boosting driver confidence that the car was able to cope with the conditions.

Meanwhile, the fabric snow socks, which can be fitted in a couple of minutes, transformed the standard tyres’ performance and enabled the V40 to cruise up the slope with relative ease.

Nick Connor, Volvo Car UK managing director said: “We wanted to demonstrate, in the most severe conditions possible, the effectiveness of having winter tyres or snow socks fitted to your car. There’s definitely a degree of scepticism out there about how useful they can be, but this test dispels the myths once and for all.

“Fleet managers looking to safeguard their drivers and other road users should definitely consider educating their company car drivers about winter tyres and snow socks. Not only could it keep their business moving when others get stranded in the snow, it could also save lives.”

Winter tyres are at their most effective when temperatures drop below seven degrees, markedly higher than the average temperature of 3.3 degrees that the Met Office recorded from December 2012 to February 2013.

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  • David Shuttlewood - 05/12/2013 14:25

    The test has totally missed to highlight the real safety benefit of having the winter tyres on vehicles at temperatures below 7degC. Its not about the ability to climb up the slope or hill, its about being able to steer, slow down and stop going down the slope! I'm sure if they had performed the test the other way by dragging the car up the slope and then getting the driver to decend, both in a staright line and through some turns, you would have ended with a very crumpled Volvo in the concrete barrier at the bottom of the slope and a petrified driver on the summer tyres compared with a slow and in control, most probably without ABS intervening, decent on the winter tyres. Its a good job the driver only managed 5m up the slope onthe summer tyres, what goes up must come down! The tyre industry also refers to winter tyres as cold temeprature tyres, as this is the critical factor in the safety benefits. Its not just about grip on ice and snow covered surfaces, its about the ability to provide dry and wet grip when the temperature drops below 7degC compared to summer tyres and the ability to clear large quantities of standing water, ofter found when snow/ice begins to melt.

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