ITDS recommends a fashionable new accessory
The whiff of barbecues and those hazy days in the sunshine seem like yesterday to some of us at In the Driving Seat. But we can’t stay in denial forever…winter is surely upon us.
With that in mind – and one or two projections of a ‘thunder-snow’ Armageddon in the nationals – we thought it was a good time to provide some seasonal tyre advice to get you through whatever Mother Nature has in store for us.
We’re stating the obvious here, but we require our tyres to connect with the road while we drive, to provide grip, transmit acceleration and braking force, whilst providing a comfortable ride. And they need to steer the vehicle. To put it another way, they’re pretty damn important!
This is all fine during the summer months on warm dry road conditions.
However, we still require our tyres to meet all of the requirements above on snow covered, icy, slushy wintery conditions.
In many parts of mainland Europe it’s quite common (or even a legal requirement) to keep two sets of wheels and tyres – one for summer and one for winter, but this isn’t the case in the UK.
Some of the practical and economic reasons are that many parts of the country only rarely experience harsh weather conditions that would justify the use of winter tyres. We are also advised to stay at home, or make only necessary journeys when ice or snow are around and the additional cost of another set of tyres – especially in the run up to Christmas – may prove prohibitive.
Generally, conditions abroad are more challenging than here and winter tyres give significantly improved handling and reduce stopping distances when the weather is cold (below 7 degrees centigrade) and wet as well as when roads are covered in snow and ice.
Many tyre manufacturers’ internal testing show that on snow, the braking distance for a summer tyre can be almost three times longer than its winter relative.
But compared to the rest of Europe, the UK generally falls behind in terms of approach to driving in colder conditions. In our idiosyncratic climate, full winter tyres may not actually be necessary.
So with this in mind, we propose a simple solution to keep motorists feeling as good as their winter warmers allow them to look…
…Opt for an all-season tyre!
There are some impressive products on the market right now which offer the perfect ‘halfway house’ between a winter and summer tyre, with fantastic levels of performance to get you through the colder weather – which will inevitably arrive at some point.
The Bridgestone Weather Control A005 is one such product which many are purring over. Without getting too technical, it is made with a new rubber compound and mixes the best of summer and winter tyre technology.
We’ve got a set on our X-Trail and we can already feel the difference. (The A005 is legally compliant 365 days a year thanks to its qualified performance on snow, certified by the 3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake marking).
For drivers who want to stay in control all year round regardless of sun, rain or occasional snow, Bridgestone reckons that it has created a product that keeps you going without compromising safety.
From our experience, fuel efficiency levels are negligible compared to a lot of summer tyres and with our winters becoming more unpredictable, we recommend an all-season product to keep you and your family safe.
The best bit of all is that it’s bloody brilliant in the wet, which we can vouch for from experience. If there’s one thing we can be sure of in the coming weeks, then it’s a Biblical downpour of some description.
You really will feel a difference!