Winter Tyres, Omagh – supplied by Kevlin Tyre Centre
Winter tyres, Omagh supplied and fitted by Kevlin Tyre Centre
If you have ever driven in sleet or snow, you will know that chaos can descend on the roads as drivers struggle to maintain control in slippery conditions. Winter tyres can help improve traction and safety in winter driving conditions. Winter tyres offer greater traction, grip and braking performance than summer tyres in temperatures below 7°C. Their special tread pattern also means that they will perform better in the wet, as well as on snow and ice.
We at Kevlin Tyre Centre, Omagh are prepared for the winter weather conditions, call in today for a free tyre health check.
Winter tyres are good at.
Winter tyres offer greater traction, grip and braking performance than summer tyres in temperatures below 7°C. Their special tread pattern also means that they will perform better in the wet, as well as on snow and ice.
The key to their improved grip on wet and ice-covered surfaces is the sipes, which provide hundreds of small extra ‘edges’ to grip the road as the tyre rotates. The sipes help not only because of their edges, but also because they enable localised movement of the rubber as the soft compound clings to the road.
A larger single solid-tread block, like the ones you see on summer tyres, would stay rigid in such conditions and be unable to maintain grip as effectively.
Winter tyres are also designed to gather a snowy ‘in-fill’ in the tread grooves and in the sipes to help with grip on packed snow. Nothing grips snow better than snow itself, and winter tyres exploit this by gathering and holding as much of it as possible. The extra-deep tread grooves also help the tyres to disperse surface water and usually increase resistance to aquaplaning, where the tyre passes on top of the water rather than through it, increasing the risk of losing control of the car.
What are winter tyres?
Most UK cars are fitted with summer tyres, as there’s currently no legal requirement to fit winter tyres during colder months. Winter tyres are designed specifically to remain supple in colder temperatures and maximise traction when driving on snow and ice. The key differences between winter tyres and summer tyres are:
- Winter tyres use a softer rubber compound (usually by including more natural rubber in the mix), which stays softer in low temperatures.
- The surface of the tread blocks is covered with small jagged slits – called sipes. These increase the tyre’s surface area against the road and improve traction.
- To more effectively displace water, winter tyres generally have deeper tread grooves than conventional summer tyres.
- The tread pattern is also designed to collect snow, further improving traction on snow and ice.
Are winter tyres just for snow and ice?
No. Winter tyres are designed for use in all winter conditions – tyre manufacturers claim that this means any weather conditions with temperatures below 7°C.
To save hassle and expense when changing tyres, you may want to buy a second set of wheels which you fit your winter tyres on. In many countries where winter-tyre use is mandatory, drivers often opt for steel rims – these are less likely to corrode after exposure to winter grit. They are also less expensive to repair or replace if you accidentally slide into a kerb.
How to drive in winter
Good driving techniques are just as important as the tyres fitted to your car. They’re not complicated and don’t cost any money – the secret is simply to employ a calm, balanced approach (pretend the controls are made of glass!).
Here are some top tips:
- Use higher gears. Pull away in second rather than first gear – this reduces the chances of spinning the wheels and digging yourself into a rut.
- If your car has an efficiency or economy mode, it will normally dull the accelerator’s responsiveness, making it easier to get going without spinning the wheels.
- Be very gentle with the clutch and throttle – again to reduce the chances of wheel-spin.
- Apply the brakes very gently. Sharp application of the brakes can lead to a skid, at which point you’ve lost control of your car. If the wheels lock, release the brakes before re-applying them. ABS doesn’t work well on snow, so repeatedly pumping the brakes (cadence braking) may slow you more quickly.
- Be very gentle with the steering. Any tyre’s ability to offer lateral grip is reduced in these conditions. The faster you travel and the more you need to turn, the less sideways grip the tyre will offer. Once you’re sliding sideways, it’s even harder to regain control.
- Use major routes where possible – these are much more likely to have been gritted and, usually, the higher traffic volumes help prevent snow from settling. Leave much bigger stopping distances (up to 10x greater) between you and whatever is in front of you.
- Above all, reduce your speed. The car will be easier to control, and you’ll have much more time to react to developing situations.
Winter tyres fitted by Kevlin Tyre Centre
Come down today and meet the team at Kevlin Tyre Centre, we can check your tyres and advise you on the best tyres for your vehicle. We have a wide range of tyres always in stock and ready to fit.