In Germany and Austria, cold weather tyres are mandatory and without them, a fine of €5,000 can be issued and it’s likely that your car will be impounded too. This may sound harsh to the UK, where such rules are not enforced but it’s with good reason that these measures are put into place.
Cold weather tyres are crucial in wet, icy and snowy conditions because they provide optimum traction and grip thanks to their deeper grooves, also known as sipes, which are built into a winter tyre’s tread. These sipes allow water, snow and ice to disperse so that the rubber can move around whilst maintaining complete contact with the road.
With this in mind, it’s absolutely clear that cold weather tyres provide drivers with enhanced safety in the winter months, and although the UK has rather unpredictable weather, the investment of tyres for winter proves invaluable when temperatures drop.
Are winter tyres worth it in the UK?
Winter tyres are designed to increase safety and control in cold weather that’s below 7 degrees Celsius – which in the UK happens in November, December, January and February. In some cases, we might get the odd cold night before these months too.
Driving with your normal, everyday tyres that you’ve used in summer, in winter, can cause your set of tyres to harden when exposed to chilling temperatures. When they harden, your risk of aquaplaning increases and your stopping distance too. That is why winter tyres are advisable because they’re made from a rubber compound that does not stiffen in low temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius. With cold weather tyres, the grip of the road is improved, control is enhanced and stopping distances are reduced – vital should you need to perform an emergency stop.
How much do cold weather tyres cost?
Like your everyday tyres, prices vary depending on your requirements but you can expect to pay around 5 – 10% more than the equivalent standard summer tyres. Although this is a significant upfront cost, you will save your everyday tyres from unwanted winter damage meaning that their lifetime will be further extended.
When should I buy winter tyres?
You’ll want cold weather tyres fitted towards the end of October or the start of November, as these are the months when we start to see temperatures dropping below 7 degrees celsius. You can get winter tyres for all shapes, sizes and makes of car, including 4×4 tyres. Unsure what size winter tyres you require? Take a look at our tyre size guide for reference.