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Winter tyres: are they worthwhile in the UK?

A common misconception is that winter tyres are really only needed in severe conditions such as snow and ice. In fact, the high silica and natural rubber content in winter (or cold weather) tyres mean they offer superior traction in all conditions when temperatures drop below 7˚C. Cold weather tyres significantly reduce stopping distances in cold conditions, even at modest speeds, and the more severe the conditions, the greater the advantage. According to Continental Tyres, braking to a stop from just 50 KPH (31 MPH) with summer tyres increases by 8 metres on snow and 11 metres on ice (i.e. almost 3 car lengths) in comparison to a winter tyre.

On dry and warm roads during summer months, winter tyres offer less traction and stopping power than high performance summer tyres, so it’s best to run summer tyres from around April to September and winter tyres from October to March. Whilst there can be logistical issues in the UK with storing a second set of wheels and tyres it has to be said that, yes, winter tyres are a worthwhile investment if you want to use your car year-round.