The IAM says that winter tyres are becoming more common in the UK because of the harsh winters over the last two years.
In countries where severe winters are guaranteed it is normal for drivers to switch to winter tyres with a different tread pattern to give better grip on snow and ice. A snowflake on a mountain symbol on the sidewall of a tyre indicates that it uses winter grade rubber which stays flexible and maintains grip to well below freezing. By comparison, the rubber used on standard tyres hardens as the temperature drops.
Peter Rodger, IAM chief examiner, said: “The weather we experience in the UK is nowhere near as severe as many other countries, but with the past two winters having been particularly bad, motorists in the hardest-hit areas may feel reassured to have the extra grip winter tyres afford.
“But weigh up the expense. A full set will cost £400-500, and most drivers won’t detect any significant difference in grip until the temperature is freezing. Most importantly, if conditions are really treacherous you should just consider postponing the journey and staying at home.
“Even if the mercury drops to below zero, safe and sensible driving will mean you shouldn’t have any cause for emergency stops, and so little need to test your tyres to their limits.”
For more information contact the IAM Press Office on 020 8996 9777.