Winter tyres test gripping stuff to beat slippery slope

Made In Chelsea celebrity Louise Thompson puts Volvo cars on standard tyres and winter tyres to the

Made In Chelsea celebrity Louise Thompson puts Volvo cars on standard tyres and winter tyres to the test at an indoor snowdome. - Credit: Volvo

As temperatures plummet and experts predict a harsh winter, Volvo Car UK invited Made In Chelsea star and Volvo V40 driver Louise Thompson to demonstrate the effectiveness of winter tyres for driving in snow.

She tried to drive two identical Volvo V40 D2 hatchbacks – one on standard tyres, the other on winter tyres – uphill at Tamworth Snowdome’s indoor ski slope.

The test was later repeated using snow socks – a quick-fix, temporary alternative to a full set of winter tyres – to see if they could also improve on the performance of standard tyres.

The results were enough to dispel any remaining doubts about the advantages of fitting winter tyres. During the test, Louise struggled to hit the five-metre mark on standard rubber but comfortably cruised past the 100m marker and continued on towards the summit as soon as she switched into the car fitted with winter tyres.

“I’m amazed that it makes such a difference,” she said. “One of the cars has amazing grip and can get all the way to the top, while the other can barely move, so if you’re going to be driving in the snow, I definitely think it’s important to have winter tyres.”

Millions of motorists are expected to drive in treacherous winter conditions, and investing in a set of winter wheels and tyres could help them avoid being stranded in the snow.

Winter tyres are most effective when temperatures drop below 7C. With the Met Office recording average temperatures for winter 2012 of 3.3C, winter tyres could have a huge role to play in reducing accidents and enhancing road safety.

Most Read

They use a softer rubber compound than standard tyres which helps them stay more flexible in cold weather. As a result, they can grip the road surface more effectively, retaining stability and traction, and boosting driver confidence that the car is able to cope with the conditions.

If a car is travelling at just 19mph on ice, winter tyres can reduce the average braking distance from 68 to 57 metres. At 30mph on snow it falls from 43 to 35 metres.

A second test saw fabric snow socks fitted over the standard tyres in a couple of minutes. This simple, low-cost upgrade transformed the standard tyres’ performance and enabled the V40 to cruise up the slope with relative ease.

Winter tyres and snow socks could help reduce the 5,000 accidents the Department for Transport says were caused by treacherous winter weather in 2012.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter