5 things to know about winter driving
- Credit: Archant
Driving in the winter season brings many concerns. For most mums, the biggest concern is the children in the back seat! But if you’re faced with the school run, shopping, or a work commute, you don’t have a choice.
Don’t worry! Because research from Michelin’s Road Usage Lab suggests some of those can be handled. Let’s explode some motoring myths.
Myth 1: Snow is the biggest driving menace
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Did you know that in the winter season, 95% of road accidents are not on snowy roads? There’s more: in one study from VUFO, 57% of accidents occurred when the road wasn’t even wet.
What does matter is the temperature – cold weather causes rubber to harden, reducing grip. Cold weather tyres are specifically designed to reduce the impact of this hardening, maintaining good grip. That’s why it’s important to check you’re using the right rubber, whatever the weather forecast is.
Myth 2: Winter tyres mean snow tyres
A surprising number of drivers think winter tyres only work when the white stuff’s on the ground. In fact, winter conditions include cold weather freezing fog, heavy rain, black ice... the list goes on.
In winter and cold weather conditions, getting where you’re going means being able to stop. And winter-grade tyres perform better under braking in all cold conditions. At under 6°C on a dry surface, a properly equipped car will take FOUR METRES less distance to stop from 49 mph which is a whole car’s length distance!
Myth 3: The city’s safer than the country
Not many mums look forward to the twisty, turny tracks in rural areas. But in fact, fewer accidents happen in the countryside – over two-thirds (68%) of reportable incidents in winter happen in the city!
Yes, those well-lit, well-salted urban streets can be riskier than a mountain track. Why? Because all that stop-start driving increases the chance of skids and shunts. More braking and more cornering mean more opportunities for something to happen! Fortunately, preparing your car for winter makes a big difference.
So even if your driving is limited to around town, don’t lose focus. Switching to winter tyres will keep your family safe.
Myth 4: It’s not worth changing tyres for a short ski trip
When you’ve planned a weekend away – a ski chalet? A mountain cottage? - it’s tempting to put off changing to winter rubber. After all, it takes time to change your tyres... and it’s only a couple of hours’ drive to your holiday home!
But ski slopes are by definition.... slopey. And a proper winter tyre increases traction on hills by a staggering percent – in cold conditions, the right tyres will get you up a 13% gradient! And keep you safe going down again. So don’t get stuck on the hills, even if it’s a short trip.
Myth 5: Winter tyres slow you down
Some people complain that winter tyres feel heavy and sluggish. Well, there’s a reason for that – you’re on snow and ice! And in such conditions cold-weather tyres perform much more efficiently than summer ones.
Take acceleration. Of course you’re careful about your speed in winter. But a winter tyre can get you up to speed much more efficiently than leaving your summer rubber on. Because on snow, a winter set gets you moving three times faster, thanks to better grip and low-temperature performance.
So whatever your driving tasks are this winter, check what’s on your wheels. Because every busy mum needs the right tyres for the season!
If you’re intrigued by the difference winter tyres make, check out Michelin’s Road Usage Lab. The company from Clermont-Ferrand has been gathering knowledge about how we drive for 125 years plus... and it never stops. They’re uncovering fresh insights about how we really use our cars today – including the surprises above.
How? By watching thousands of drivers each year, in hundreds of varied driving conditions, all over Europe. All with one purpose: to make your driving experience as safe as it can be.
Read more at www.michelin.co.uk/michelin-total-performance