Story: COLIN DAWSON
Extensive periods of snow and ice are not the norm in the British Isles but, according to tyre manufacturer Goodyear Dunlop, recent statistics showed 568 accidents involving goods vehicles in the UK were the result of such weather conditions. In response, the company has launched a campaign to inform commercial vehicle and fleet owners of the importance of ensuring vans have the correct tyres before the onset of winter.
Goodyear Dunlop believes there is a widespread misunderstanding of winter tyres, with many business van operators assuming they are suitable only for snow and ice. In reality, winter tyres are developed not only for extreme weather but also perform better than other tyres at lower temperatures, owing to their designs and compounds.
Given its high grip, a winter tyre can significantly improve handling and traction as well as reduce the braking distance of a vehicle in winter conditions. The company says winter tyres ensure that vehicle performance is optimised when temperatures are low and in particular when road conditions are affected by snow and ice. Tyres react differently according to temperature, so specific compounds and more aggressive tread patterns are necessary for these conditions, not only for good grip in snow but also on ice and to clear surface water efficiently.
According to Goodyear Dunlop, a common misconception is that all tyres marked M+S or similar (M.S, M&S) – standing for ‘Mud and Snow’ – are winter tyres. But some of these tyres do not offer the same levels of performance as winter tyres nor are they suitable for all winter conditions. A new regulation is to be introduced to ensure that tyres which are suitable are clearly identified, with those that fulfil the requirements marked on the sidewall with a mountain and symbol.
“It is all about safety, and also about ensuring commercial vehicles can continue to meet tight schedules without hindrance, regardless of weather conditions,” Boris Stevanovic, the company’s Marketing Director – Truck Tyres, told Business Vans. “Today, Germany has traffic laws making the use of winter tyres compulsory, and several other countries are already applying similar laws or introducing winter tyre legislation for the coming season. Winter tyres are not an option, they are a need,” he said.
Goodyear offers a range of winter tyres for company vans called Ultra Grip, which are available in a wide variety of sizes.
“Many business van users never consider winter tyres unless they operate in the northernmost parts of Europe or in mountain regions, or are forced to by law,” Stevanovic said. “Goodyear winter tyres not only fulfill the legal needs where they exist but also help ensure excellent grip in all conditions to prevent unnecessary delays and incidents due to bad road conditions. What’s more, our Ultra Grip tyres do not have the negative effect on fuel consumption that many believe and they also offer high mileage potential.”