"Time To Switch To Winter Tyres" says the UK Government

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The Government is recommending that now is the time for motorists to switch to winter tyres. The recommendation comes as a result of a report commissioned in March of this year by the Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, which undertook a review of the resilience of England’s infrastructure during the winter period. The report also calls on industry to develop technical solutions to enable transport systems to cope more effectively with increasingly harsh winter conditions.

The Government is recommending that now is the time for motorists to switch to winter tyres. The recommendation comes as a result of a report commissioned in March of this year by the Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, which undertook a review of the resilience of England’s infrastructure during the winter period. The report also calls on industry to develop technical solutions to enable transport systems to cope more effectively with increasingly harsh winter conditions.

The report, which records the results of consultations with 132 private and public sector organisations, was commissioned in consequence of some of the severest conditions recorded in over thirty years experienced during the winter of 2008/9.

Tests have proven the benefits and increased efficiencies of winter tyres used in conditions which drop below 7degs C. Due to the fact that the tyre compound does not harden in cold conditions, which is the case with normal tyres, road grip is significantly increased and stopping distances consequently reduced. Test results indicated that stopping distances were reduced by 4.8 metres on wet roads and a staggering 11 metres on icy roads when travelling at 20mph.

On the Continent drivers are routinely conditioned to automatically change to winter tyres at the onset of the winter months, and in some countries it is required by law. Adopting a similar practice in this country would not only assist drivers to keep moving on the roads through icy conditions, but also significantly reduce the number of road accidents and casualties during the winter months.

A spokesman for Staveley Head Van Insurance, one of the UK’s leading comprehensive providers, said “We know we’re going to have snow and ice on the roads every year, but when it happens the British motorist is always taken by surprise. Perhaps it is because the snow and ice only lasts for a few days, usually, that we don’t prepare better.

But the chaos we experience for those few days really should persuade us to take better precautions. Tyre manufacturers now produce an extensive range of winter tyres and we do recommend that commercial vehicle drivers, at the very least, take advantage of this option.”

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Ashley Peters

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