Following the first winter cold snap to hit the UK, Cooper Tire is urging drivers to replace their summer rubber with tyres made specifically for the cold temperatures and winter road conditions.
During November and December 2011 the UK’s average temperature fell from 8.7°C to 4.8°C and Department for Transport figures showed a significant rise in accidents involving slippery roads in the winter months. A similar trend was recorded in 2010.
As soon as temperatures drop below 7°C, specialist winter rubber performs better than regular summer tyres. Winter tyres provide better grip and higher levels of traction when needed.
Estimates say that less than 5% of motorists fit winter tyres to their cars each year which could mean more than 27 million cars on UK roads are now using tyres not suited to the conditions they face each day.
With specially-formulated tyre compounds and deeper tread patterns, winter tyres such as the Cooper WM-SA2 and WeatherMaster Snow provide better grip in lower temperatures whether surfaces are dry, wet or icy, making them ideal for Britain’s roads, more than 130,000 miles of which will never see a gritting lorry through the course of the winter.
"Many of us have seen the performance of winter tyres in action on the continent," said Pete McNally, General Manager of Cooper Tires’ European Technical Centre.
"Anyone who’s been on a ski holiday will have seen Europeans driving around on snow with levels of grip that most UK motorists only dream of in the winter.
"British drivers need to realise that winter tyres not only offer a safer option when it snows, they are also specifically designed to operate at temperatures below 7oC, making them ideal from December right through to April when the temperatures usually rise again."