17th December 2018

Ready for winter? The lowdown on winter tyres

If you own a high-performance vehicle, we see little reason to drive in fear of every corner. Fitted winter tyres can mean confidence regained in wet, snow or ice conditions.

Winter tyre

Certain your Porsche Cayenne will be a doddle to handle in the snow? Think you can battle with your Nissan GT-R in the rain? Or willing to give your McLaren 720S a go on ice?

It’s predicted almost a half of all UK drivers are mis- or totally uninformed when it comes to winter tyres. With a more open tread, winter tyres are not simply designed for snowy and icy conditions, but for all-round winter weather.


Performance and safety combined

When summer tyres fall below 7°C, the rubber begins to harden and the performance you experience will drop. This could increase your braking distance by up to 12%. It not only affects the performance of your vehicle, then, it also increases the chances of an accident happening.

You’ll no doubt take special care of where your vehicle is stored in the winter months, but such care should be extended for when you’re out on the road.


So what do winter tyres do and how are they different from summer tyres?

Winter tyres have more natural rubber and silica in the compound, giving extra elasticity in treacherous conditions. Usually, winter tyres are expertly designed to maintain a performance you’ve been used to. These tyres are optimised to produce less noise, reduce rolling resistance and improve fuel consumption.

Often, your manufacturer will offer exclusive winter tyres purpose-built to fit the model of your vehicle. With this, you’ll probably find stability, comfort, performance and the overall driving experience much more enjoyable than generic winter tyre providers, so it’s wise to consider your options fully.


The statistics

At the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone, Porsche tested some of its models, the Macan and the Boxster GTS on low friction surfaces. Braking with ABS from 49mph to 0mph, in 3°C on a wet road surface, the test found that the car with winter tyres fitted had a 12% shorter braking distance. In the snow—again braking with ABS—from 24mph to 0mph, the car with the winter tyres had a 19% shorter braking distance than the car with summer tyres fitted.

Put into context, this distance could be the difference between safely coming to a stop and something disastrous. Again, if you own a high-performance vehicle, the difference is no doubt augmented, financially and other.


So, why are we so liable to risk it?

Whilst the cost of winter tyres may play a part, many leading manufacturers offer a bespoke service for winter tyres, often including full fitment, safe storage of summer tyres and fitment of them once the winter period comes to an end.

If you have already fitted winter tyres and want to discuss your insurance, or would simply like advice on your available options from a team of car insurance experts, just give us a call on 020 8294 1040.