Drivers can stay safe and mobile on the roads over the Christmas period by fitting winter tyres, says tyre safety organisation Tyresafe.
Winter tyres, also called cold-weather tyres, are designed to provide better grip in cold and damp conditions compared to standard tyres.
“We’ve had one of the mildest autumns on record, but the colder, wetter weather is now most definitely here bringing with it more hazardous driving conditions,” said Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe.
“While we can’t know for sure if we will experience snow this year, we can be certain that drivers fitting winter tyres will have better grip and safety, throughout the entire winter period.”
Many drivers in the UK mistakenly think that winter tyres only offer benefits when they are driving on snow and ice but the reality is very different.
As temperatures drop below seven degrees celsius, the tread compound in normal tyres begins to harden, providing reduced levels of grip.
Winter weather tyres contain more natural rubber which minimises the hardening effect, giving them extra grip in cold, wet and icy conditions.
Tests conducted by the British Tyre Manufacturers Association found that a car braking at 60mph on a wet road at five degrees Celsius stopped five metres shorter, equivalent to more than one car length, when fitted with winter weather tyres.
“Without question, the safest option for UK drivers is to switch between winter and summer tyres each year as the seasons change,” added Jackson.
“Alternatively, all-season tyres can offer a more balanced performance without the need to change between seasons.
" However, investing in an extra set of winter tyres ensures they are best matched to the road conditions, providing the best possible levels of safety.”
Jackson said regardless of whether drivers decide to fit winter tyres or not, all drivers should ensure their tyres have adequate tread depth.