Tyre specialist ATS Euromaster has written to 38 of the largest car and van manufacturers in the UK, urging them to offer customers a choice of summer or cold weather (winter) tyres when ordering a new factory-built vehicle.
ATS Euromaster says every additional car or van fitted with cold weather tyres during winter months will help to make the country’s roads safer; not just for the driver and their passengers, but for other road users and pedestrians. Road safety charity Brake agrees, and has added its support to the campaign.
Columba Zaal, Group Operations Director at ATS Euromaster, explains: “Tens of thousands of cars and vans are delivered during winter on rubber intended for summer conditions. As a result, much of the investment in technology to improve vehicle handling and safety is negated at the crucial stage where a vehicle makes contact with the road – through its tyres.
“If active safety systems such as adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems can increasingly be offered as factory-fit options, why can’t cold weather tyres?” he asks.
Julie Townsend, Deputy Chief Executive at Brake, comments: “Winter driving can be perilous, so it’s crucial vehicles are fitted with appropriate equipment for the conditions. Winter tyres are more effective than summer tyres in cold and icy conditions as they improve grip on the road and allow drivers to react and stop more quickly in an emergency. This is critical in preventing devastating crashes and making roads safer for everyone.
“As a charity that supports people bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes, Brake is all too aware of the appalling suffering and trauma crashes cause to families and communities. Brake is therefore joining ATS Euromaster in calling on vehicle manufacturers to offer winter tyres,” says Townsend.
Zaal adds: “Giving customers the option to have their new car or van built with cold weather tyres could massively impact on seasonal tyre take-up for vehicles delivered between October and March, when temperatures typically drop and the performance of summer tyres deteriorate.
“Crucially, we believe it would also encourage more owners to trial cold weather tyres for the first time. This would be a major step forward in road safety, as in our experience, once a customer has driven on cold weather tyres in winter, they don’t want to be without them ever again.”
Modern rubber compound technology and advances in tread pattern design mean that today’s cold weather tyres deliver considerably shorter stopping distances for cars and vans on both wet and dry roads at low temperatures, in addition to their impressive traction credentials on snow, slush and ice. They also ensure increased longevity compared with summer tyres during winter motoring; conditions which would normally see tyre life reduced by up to 20 per cent.
Analysts in Holland – a country which enjoys a similar climate to the UK – studied 25,000 insurance claims and found a 32 per cent increase in claims during winter for vehicles fitted with summer tyres, whilst only a 12 per cent increase for those on cold weather tyres.