Today’s weather and situation on roads have shown why introducing the requirement of driving on winter or all-season tyres is crucial for our safety and… reducing the amount of time wasted in traffic
A day like this clearly shows why driving on winter tyres is due and above all immensely important when it comes to road safety and efficient commuting. A lot of drivers still have not changed their tyres, which contributes to collisions, accidents, traffic and overall makes our life more difficult.
Driving on winter or all-season tyres is the easiest and the cheapest way to decrease the number of collisions and accidents on roads. In the period of 5-6 years, a driver will wear out two sets of tyres - regardless of whether they’re two sets of summer tyres or one set of summer and one of winter tyres. Although there still are no regulations regarding winter tyres, we need to remember that in such climate as ours it’s not difficult to experience a skid during autumn and winter’s foul weather – the conditions change by the hour and from a clear, autumn day we drive right into a snowstorm. That is why it is so important to change the tyres before winter arrives. Modern tyres with winter homologation, marked with the three-peak mountain and a snowflake symbol even at a temperature of 10°C parallel summer tyres – also on dry surfaces and provide a much better traction when it gets colder, starts to rain, sleet, and snow.
The use of winter tyres has a positive impact on braking and traction1. Tests comparing summer tyres to the winter type2 show us just how much tyres well suited to the temperature, wetness and slipperiness of the surface help the driver to control the vehicle. Homologated winter tyres, that is those with the so-called Alpine symbol3 - the three-peak mountain and a snowflake symbol, give us a much larger security margin, that is shorter braking distance, which often mitigates the risk of an accident and saves lives. Summer tyres start to harden when the temperature drops to 7-10°C and their braking distance elongates considerably compared to the braking distance of winter tyres – the difference can be as big as 10 metres, that is two lengths of a big car. You should never skimp on safety. The Report of European Commission proves that the use of winter tyres reduces the risk of an accident by 46 percent4.
In all of our neighbouring countries, except for Ukraine, there is a legal requirement of driving on winter or all-season tyres. Such legislation was introduced in 26 countries in Europe. Interestingly, not only in Scandinavian countries or in the East, but also in the South including: Slovenia, Croatia or Italy. Moreover, a decrease in the number of collisions and accidents was noted in the countries that introduced the requirement of driving on winter tyres from late autumn until early spring. No wonder – winter tyres provide a much better traction and shorten the braking distance when the weather gets cold. That is why in the great majority of countries where driving on winter tyres is legally required there is a specified date up until which drivers have to change to winter tyres. This is the easiest solution for drivers, who do not have to worry whether they will get pulled over by the police for driving on summer tyres when the snow stars to fall on their way back home.
78% of drivers in Poland are in favour of introducing a requirement of driving on winter or all-season tyres with winter homologation5. The growing awareness of Polish drivers gives us hope for an increase in the number of people driving on winter or all-season tyres in the winter – now one-third of them puts themselves and others at risk while driving on summer tyres in the winter. We appeal to every driver – it is better to change to winter tyres even a few days too early than one day too late.
Statement by Piotr Sarnecki, Chief Executive Officer of Polish Tyre Industry Association
3 It has been designated by UN Regulation No. 117 and introduced by EU Regulation 661/2009
4 European Commission, Study on some safety-related aspects of tyre use, December 2014
5 Moto Data 2017 - Panel of car users, March 2017