Tyres warning for driving in Europe

British drivers could be fined if they do not have winter tyres fitted when driving in some European

British drivers could be fined if they do not have winter tyres fitted when driving in some European countries. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

British drivers could face on-the-spot fines for using the wrong tyres when travelling in mainland Europe this winter.

Severe winter weather in many European countries means the normal summer tyres fitted to most UK cars will not offer enough grip for safe driving or braking in icy or snowy conditions.

In Germany and some ski resorts, drivers are liable to on-the-spot fines if their car is not equipped with winter tyres or their car becomes stuck in slippery conditions due to the wrong tyres being fitted.

The Department for Transport says UK drivers are free to drive abroad but their car must satisfy the general technical requirements of each country it passes through.

Drivers are being urged to choose winter tyres if they are travelling into Europe this winter. They should also check their tyres for condition, correct pressure and tread depth, as well as making sure they have a spare wheel and tyre in good condition.

Winter tyres not only work better on slush, ice, frost and wet roads but give better grip than standard tyres at temperatures below 7C.

Unlike standard tyres, winter ones do not harden at lower temperatures so give more grip and the ability to stop in a shorter distance which improves safety on the road in cold conditions.

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Winter tyres’ rubber compound is very different to a summer tyre. The summer tyres’ rubber compound loses its flexibility in the cold so it has less grip. Specially-developed winter tyres have more natural rubber so don’t harden in the cold.

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