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What Are Winter Tyres?
Winter tyres are tyres that have been designed to perform in difficult winter weather conditions such as low temperatures, snow, ice and thawing conditions. It is recommended that you switch to winter tyres when temperatures drop to a consistent average of 7°c or lower.
You can identify winter tyres by the markings on the sidewall of the tyre. A snowflake on a mountain design indicates that the tyre meets the specified requirements to be classed as a winter tyre. The letters ‘M+S’ on the side of a tyre mean that it is optimised to provide traction on mud and snow, however, alone this symbol does not indicate that the tyre is a winter tyre.
The Benefits of Winter Tyres
Designed with a specialist tread pattern that features a high number of grooves and sipes, winter tyres are optimised to deliver enhanced traction on surfaces that are covered with snow and ice. This provides higher levels of stability and control, resulting in a safe performance in difficult winter weather conditions.
Winter tyres are constructed with a specialist compound that is designed to remain supple at low temperatures and which enables them to maintain high levels of grip with the surface of the road. This excellent grip enables winter tyres to deliver shorter braking distances in cold weather and on ice and snow.
Summer tyres are designed with a softer compound which will stiffen at low temperatures, meaning that they cannot maintain the same level of grip as winter tyres and therefore they cannot deliver the same braking distances in winter.
Image courtesy of Michelin Tyres - http://www.michelin.co.uk/
Winter Tyres in Action
Take a look at this video from TyreSafe to watch how winter tyres perform in action:
Do I Need Winter Tyres?
If winter conditions tend to be quite severe in your area and you regularly experience temperatures below 7°c, we would recommend having winter tyres fitted to your vehicle.
Contact your local Merityre Specialists branch for more information on winter tyres.
As well as adding winter tyres to your vehicle, you should consider adjusting your driving style to improve safety and performance on the road this winter. For further information, take a look at our winter driving advice.