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What Exactly Are Winter Tyres?

Another question we get asked here in DoneDeal particularly this time of the year is, what are winter tyres and are they really necessary? Many countries across Europe require all vehicles to be fitted with heavy duty winter tyres, but this is not currently a legal requirement in Ireland. Believe it or not drivers are 20% more likely to be involved in a car accident during the winter months due to a number of factors, but most of all, poor grip! Irish roads tend to worsen during the colder months with hazards such as potholes, black ice, possibly snow and heavy rain settling on the roads. These conditions are naturally harder on a cars tyre and even more-so if you run a low profile sports compound tyre.

 

Experts would encourage motorists to use winter tyres on their cars and vans but our winters are probably still not harsh enough to warrant them coming into law. So what is the difference we hear you ask? Well, winter tyres are specially modified to add more grip to the road surface during bad conditions, and allow drivers to maintain better control of their vehicles. The tyres work best when temperatures drop below seven degrees, giving better traction, grip and braking performance.

 

The key difference between normal summer tyres and specialist cold weather ones is the deeper grooves on winter tyres being more effective at dispersing surface water to reduce the risk of skidding. Winter tyres also give drivers better handling performance when travelling in adverse conditions such as snow, ice and heavy rain. Vans and trucks carrying heavy loads can destabilise the vehicle when turning, making them particularly vulnerable to spinning on icy roads. Winter tyres can help reduce this risk of drivers losing control of their vehicle.

 

Although it may seem like a big initial investment, winter tyres are ideal for those travelling on poorer road conditions during the colder months particularly if you live in a mountainous area. As mentioned it is not currently a legal requirement for drivers to fit winter tyres we would recommend anyone living in a challenging area prone to poor conditions to consider fitting them.


The main difference is drivers using these specially designed tyres will feel more in control of their vehicle when navigating slippery and icy roads, where a normal summer tyre would struggle for grip and stability. If you do decide to fit winter tyres, make sure it is in line with the manufacturer specifications that can be found in your handbook. Having winter tyres will no doubt improve road safety for everyone travelling during the colder months but with the ongoing cost of living crisis it might be silly easier to leave the car at home should tricky conditions present themselves.

 


From all at DoneDeal we wish you a safe onward journey.

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