Do I Need Winter Tyres?

As the temperature drops and our roads succumb to ice, rain and snow, driving can be a real challenge.

More drivers than ever are opting to fit winter tyres to their cars to help get around during the chilly British winter.

Winter tyres have long been popular in parts of Europe as a way to make driving safer during the colder months, and they are becoming more common in Britain. If you invest in winter tyres, what will you get for your money?

Driving in Winter

Everyone has experienced struggles in winter on the roads. It can be a challenge to get out of the driveway, there’s a higher risk of skidding, and sometimes you even have to put off trips or can’t commute to work.

Worse still is that accidents are six times as likely to happen between October and March, when the British roads are affected by the worst weather.

We all know to pack de-icer, snow suppliers and warm blankets in the car when we drive during the winter. Having winter tyres installed in your car could soon become another practical way to make it safer to drive in winter.

What Are Winter Tyres?

The material used to make winter tyres is slightly different from regular tyres. There is more natural rubber in the tread (the part that comes in contact with the road surface), which means that tyres don’t harden in cold temperatures, but stay flexible and have more grip than regular tyres.

The pattern of the tread in winter tyres is different too, with more grooves on the tyre that let it bite in to snow better and get a good grip in cold conditions. The tread pattern is also designed to be more effective at dispersing water than on a regular tyre, making it safer on the roads in the rain. There are more sipes on winter tyres, giving them more traction on the roads to help vehicles accelerate and brake.

If you use a winter tyre, you will find that your braking distance improves on snowy, slushy, icy or wet roads, which make them perfect for use in the British winter.

Why Should I Use Winter Tyres?

It’s clear that winter tyres make driving in winter easier and safer, but that’s not the only reason to get them.

Summer tyres degrade far more over the cold winter months, so by changing your tyres for winter you’ll increase the life of your summer tyres. This will stop you from having to replace your summer tyres as often, and save money.

Insurance companies are also starting to see the sense in winter tyres. Less accidents means less claims, which in turn can lead to lower premiums. Check with your insurer to confirm if you need to tell them about having winter tyres professionally installed, and if it could lower your instance rate.

If you have traction control or anti-lock braking on your car you will still benefit from winter tyres, as these functions don’t do anything to improve the actual grip of the tyres.

You will find that winter tyres are just as comfortable to ride with, and as quiet as regular tyres.

You’ll be able to find winter tyres at all the main tyre manufacturers for most types of car, and can get advice from your local garage or go online and use services like It’s a good idea to get them in the autumn before demand runs high. You’ll normally be recommended to replace all four tyres with winter tyres over the cold season, to make the handling of your car as effective as possible.

Do you think that winter tyres are essential in the cold winter months?


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Silversurfer's Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assitant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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3rd Feb 2015
Thanks for voting!
It was interesting that recently one of the Car Magazines conducted a test with 2 wheel drive and 4 wheel drive vehicles fitted with Summer tyres and then Winter tyres which then had to tackle a steep ice covered slope.
The 4 wheel drive with winter tyres obviously had the greatest success, but what was surprising that the 2 wheel drive with winter tyres achieved a far greater success and got much further up the hill than the 4 wheel drive on summer tyres.

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