A test conducted by Volvo Car UK has shown how winter tyres could help keep Truro drivers safer in treacherous road conditions in the coming months.
Two identical Volvo V40 D2 hatchbacks – one on standard tyres and another on winter tyres – headed to an indoor ski slope, to see if either one could be driven to the snowy summit. An amateur driver tested both cars back-to-back for a snow driving test that will mirror the experiences of millions of Truro motorists this winter.
The test was then repeated using snow socks – a low cost, temporary alternative to a full set of winter tyres – to see if they could improve the performance of standard tyres in slippery conditions. The tyres and socks, which are both available from Truro Volvo dealership Truro Motor Company, dramatically reduce braking distances and increase both grip and driver confidence in difficult winter conditions. The results should be enough to dispel any remaining doubts about the advantages of fitting winter tyres. While standard rubber reached a distance of just five metres, the winter tyres carried the V40 comfortably past the 100-metre marker and onwards towards the summit of the slope. The winter tyres' softer rubber compound gripped the surface far more effectively, retaining stability and traction, and boosting driver confidence that the car was able to cope with the conditions. Meanwhile, the fabric snow socks, which can be fitted in a couple of minutes, transformed the standard tyres' performance and enabled the V40 to cruise up the slope with relative ease. Truro Motor Company dealer principal Nick Jones commented: "There's definitely a degree of scepticism out there about how useful winter tyres can be and if they're worth the investment, but this test dispels the myths once and for all.
"Truro drivers looking to safeguard themselves, their families and other road users should definitely look into the possibility of winter tyres and snow socks. Not only could it keep them moving when they get stranded in the snow, it could also save lives."
Winter tyres are at their most effective when temperatures drop below seven degrees, markedly higher than the average temperature of 3.3 degrees that the Met Office recorded from December 2012 to February 2013.
With the Department for Transport reporting that treacherous conditions caused a staggering 5,070 car accidents in the UK in 2012, the test comes amid a flurry of reports suggesting that the UK is set to endure yet another long and harsh winter.
While winter tyres are mandatory in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, fewer than five per cent of new tyres sold in the UK each year are winter tyres. Snow socks are available at Truro Motor Company, located at Cathedral Garage, Truro for £55 and a set of four winter wheels and tyres start from £600.