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80% of UK drivers give winter tyres the cold shoulder, new research finds

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Nov 21, 2022 #Tyres
  • Only 1 in 5 respondents in a new survey, focusing on winter tyres, feel it is very important to fit them
  • Over 60% of survey participants won’t switch to winter tyres this year
  • Cost, potential inconvenience and lack of UK legislation cited as key reasons for rejection
  • Safety benefits of winter tyres are considerable even in moderate UK climate says James Allitt, a member of the Leadership Team, Audi UK
  • Many Audi UK Centres offer a wide range of winter wheel and tyre options, as well as Tyre Hotelstorage facilities

Milton Keynes, November 14, 2022Just one in five UK motorists think it is important to swap their cars onto winter tyres, new independent research by Audi UK has revealed. As Road Safety Week gets underway the revelation serves as a timely reminder of the importance of swapping to winter tyres.

The use of winter tyres is mandatory during the winter months in many countries and regions throughout Europe, but there is no legal requirement to fit them in the UK. New research has revealed 61% of the UK drivers taking part in the survey confirmed that they had no plans to switch to winter tyres this year.

For 44% of survey respondents, the absence of legal obligation was enough to convince them to pass up the added safety and protection winter tyres offer, while the impact on running costs of buying and maintaining an additional set of tyres was the spanner in the works for 40% of respondents. Additionally, the potential difficulties involved in storing the wheels and/or tyres out-of-season was the main impediment for 22% of participants.

Winter tyres: the benefits
A popular misconception that has also traditionally inhibited the uptake of cold weather tyres in the UK is that our weather is very rarely ‘wintry’ enough to bring their benefits to the fore.

In reality, the performance of ‘conventional’ tyres can be noticeably impaired even at temperatures that are regularly recorded during a UK winter. The relatively hard rubber compound of tyres softens to enhance grip as their temperature increases during usage. But at temperatures below 7°C, the tyres cannot absorb sufficient heat and grip is diminished, which also impacts braking effectiveness.

Thanks to their special rubber compound, winter tyres offer maximum grip during wet, icy and snowy road conditions – greatly improving stopping distances, compared with conventional tyres, and maximising driving safety.

The nationwide network of Audi Centres can supply and fit winter tyres, and complete winter wheel and tyre combination sets, for a wide range of Audi models. The price of winter tyres varies, dependent on various factors, such as model, wheel-size, mileage and driving style. Plus, in the long-term, customers’ ‘conventional’ tyres will last longer as a result. 

Many Audi Centres offer the option to purchase with the help of a 0% interest finance agreement, and will match any price quoted by independent fitters, both online and on the high street, for tyres of identical specification.  

The Audi tyre hotel
An increasing number of Audi Centres can also offer customers the option to store their wheel and tyre sets in ‘Tyre Hotel’ facilities so that they can be conveniently swapped as the seasons change and don’t take up space at home.

Regardless of whether or not they take advantage of these benefits, all Audi drivers can reassure themselves that their cars are as weatherproof as possible by booking a complimentary Winter Health Check at their nearest Audi Centre. This visual inspection ensures that all safety-related components are road-legal and working exactly as they were designed to.

“The safety benefits of winter wheels and tyres are considerable from temperatures below 7°C – regularly seen in the UK as the winter months roll in,“ says James Allitt, a member of the Leadership Team, Audi UK.

“Our research highlights misconceptions among UK drivers about their merits, and also understandable concerns about the cost and inconvenience of ownership, and I hope we’ve gone some way towards addressing these misconceptions. Fundamentally, though, I firmly believe that any driver able to make the switch to winter tyres won’t ever regret doing so when they feel the difference they can make.”

Road safety week
The annual campaign, led by road safety charity Brake, brings together thousands of schools, organisations and communities to share important road safety messages.

According to Mary Williams OBE, CEO of Brake, “It’s really important that drivers make sure their vehicle is prepared for winter weather. At this time of year, there are often additional road hazards due to debris, ice and rain, increasing risk. Every death and injury on roads is a tragedy, and Brake cares for the families bereaved and injured through the National Road Victim Service. Road Safety Week is an opportunity for us all to think about the victims and start putting safety first. By making sure our vehicles are winter-tyre ready, for example, we are doing something positive that protects our families and those around us and stops these horrifying and preventable crashes.” 

Audi Centres are on hand to advise drivers looking to maximise winter driving safety on the wheel and tyre options available for their car, and can be contacted via the Audi Centre locator:  Locate an Audi Centre > Audi UK

By admin