Is braking distance more with winter tyres on dry roads?

By Julia Freeman

There are many reasons why you should change your tyres for the winter months. Summer car tyres are ideal when the temperature is relatively warm and there is no snow or ice on the ground. Winter tyres are suited for colder weather where the road surface is slippery, icy or covered in snow, but how do winter tyres perform on dry winter roads compared to summer tyres?

driving in the winter

Winter tyres explained

If you do not change your tyres for the winter months, you could find yourself sliding through junctions when trying to stop, as ice on the road surface can vastly increase your braking distance. Winter car tyres, from such manufacturers as Pirelli and Bridgestone, are designed with a softer compound and with a deep tread pattern that actually minimises the contact with the road surface by at least by 50% compared to summer tyres.
 
However, they do maximise the pressure that is placed on the road to provide more grip. The tyres also can help disperse water and ice outwards, which also improves the grip on the road surface. Winter tyres perform best when the temperature is below around seven degrees Celsius and provide reasonable braking distances.
 
Obviously, in summer months when the roads are dry and temperatures are above seven degrees Celsius, the braking distance on winter tyres will be greater as there is less contact with the road surface compared to standard summer tyres. Conversely, if the road temperature drops below seven degrees Celsius during the non-winter months, the braking distance on dry roads with winter tyres should be much better than using summer tyres.

Buy Winter Tyres

Safe winter driving on winter tyres

Although you may buy winter tyres, it does not mean you can drive as you would during the summer when the roads are dry, and the temperature is high. Whilst winter tyres are designed for icy conditions, it does not mean you can drive without care of the road conditions. The winter tyres will help with the grip on the road, but it is still possible for the car to slide if you are going too fast.
If you are driving on a slippery road, it is advisable to drive much more slowly than you would in the summer. If you hit a patch of ice and the car starts sliding, your instinct will be to hit the brakes, but this is bad practice. Let the car slide until you feel some control with the steering and then steer. It is important to slow down if you see a patch of ice in front of you to try and therefore avoid sliding at all.

Winter tyres for your car

Winter tyres are necessary for the winter months as they perform better on ice, snow, wet roads and low surface temperatures. When using winter tyres, your braking distance on a dry road depends on a number of factors, including the surface temperature. However, it’s true to say that when the temperature is below seven degrees Celsius, braking distance will be shorter using winter tyres.
 
If you’re interested in purchasing some winter tyres, our fully-qualified and experienced tyre professionals will be pleased to advise you on the best choice for your vehicle.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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