Recent figures indicate that road accident rates increase by 20% over the winter months, you will no doubt therefore want to take steps to ensure you stay safe when driving during the chilly season in Devon. Your tyres are the only part of your car that comes into contact with the road, and obviously play a crucial role in keeping you out of harm’s way – and having well-maintained tyres is more important than ever when cold weather strikes.
Do Your Tyres Have Enough Grip
Regardless of whether it is winter or summer, you are legally required to ensure that your tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm to be on the UK roads. However, road safety experts do recommend having at least 3mm, and certainly no less than 2mm. Plenty of road grip on your car tyres gives you extra traction, reducing your stopping distances and enhancing your vehicles handling. Particularly in Devon’s wet and icy conditions, an extra millimetre or two of tread can make the difference between being able to stop in time or experiencing a collision.
Take a 20p piece and check if your tyres meet the legal minimum tread depth for the UK. Insert the coin into the grooves of your tyres. If you can see the outer band of the coin, your tyres are below 1.6mm.
How To Check Tyre Pressures
Most of us wrongly think that lowering the pressure in the tyres when it is icy boosts safety because it increases the amount of rubber in contact with the road. In fact, this is totally wrong! Reducing the tyre pressure does not help with grip and it can negatively impact on your cars handling. Whatever the weather, it is vital that you ensure your tyres are inflated in line with the guidance provided in your vehicle’s handbook.
When checking the tyre pressure, make sure your tyres are ‘cold’ (meaning your car has been stopped for at least a couple of hours) and use a reliable pressure gauge. You should aim to do this check every couple of weeks or before you set off on long journeys.
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Make sure you examine the overall condition of your tyres. Any weak spots are a potential danger and should not be ignored. Look out for scuffs, splits or bulges in the rubber, as well as signs of general wear and tear. As well as looking at your tyres, use your hands to feel around the backs where you cannot see. If you notice any signs of damage, you will need to get replacements.
Winter Or All Season Tyres
Normal, or summer tyres work less effectively in cold weather than they do in mild conditions. This is because the rubber stiffens up as the temperatures drops. Contrasting to that, winter tyres are made from rubber with a high silica content that means they remain softer in the colder Devon weather. They also have deeper grooves, as well as narrow cuts called sipes that are built into their tread. These features improve road contact in cold, wet and icy conditions, providing better braking and handling performance.
Unlike other countries, such as Sweden, it is not a legal requirement to use winter tyres in the UK. However, for some drivers it is sensible to make the switch. For example, if you live in a remote area where conditions are likely to be worse or you lack confidence driving in snow and ice, you may benefit from swapping your regular tyres for winter versions.
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There is however another option that may suit you if you want extra reassurance in the winter but don’t want the hassle of having to switch between two sets of tyres each year. All season tyres combine the features of both of these designs. They are made from a similar rubber compound to winter models but have a tread pattern that is a hybrid of both styles. This means they can be used year-round, saving you money and hassle.
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We at AMS Tyres and Autocentres appreciate that choosing the right tyre for your car, van or motorcycle can be very confusing! From getting the right tyre size to selecting the best brand the choice is massive! So, whether it is a car, van, 4×4 or motorcycle let us provide you the biggest range and budgets to suit for you. Use our comprehensive online tyre search and booking system for the best tyre quote and then book.