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Mind The (Temperature) Gap

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- Drivers warned that winter arrives early in the rush hour -

New research from Kwik Fit highlights that although the weather seems relatively mild, millions of rush hour drivers are already facing winter conditions on their morning commute.

When it comes to winter driving, the first key figure that motorists should look for is not freezing point, but 7°C.  It is at this temperature when the performance of summer tyres deteriorates and winter tyres become more effective, with significantly shorter braking distances.

Analysis for Kwik Fit shows that this winter marker has been reached at the UK peak driving time between 8.00 – 9.00am on 23 out of the last 25 days.  In fact, over that period, 69 out of 76 Met Office stations have recorded morning rush hour temperatures as low as 3°C.  This is despite maximum daytime temperatures remaining above 15°C in some parts of the UK(1).

Below 7°C, winter tyres will stop 4.8 metres shorter than summer tyres on wet roads, and when it gets even colder and roads become icy, that stopping difference extends to a huge 11 metres, longer than a London double-decker bus(2).

Ian Fraser, chief executive of Kwik Fit says:  “When checking the weather forecast, maximum daytime temperatures can lull motorists into a false sense of security.  It is the temperature at rush hour which should be of most interest to drivers, as there are twice as many cars on the road between 8-9am as between 1-2pm(3).

“This is why we are advising drivers to mind the gap between the temperature at rush hour and the maximum temperature during the day.  Most drivers will find they are driving in conditions below 7°C for far longer than they imagine.”

Winter tyres are not studded and look similar to summer tyres. It is their specially formulated rubber compound and tread pattern which give better grip and improved braking at temperatures below 7°C. 

Kwik-Fit has a wide range of winter tyres, stocking Continental, Marangoni and Michelin.  Appointments can be booked online at www.kwik-fit.com.

To provide even greater convenience for customers, Kwik-Fit has introduced a ‘Tyre Hotel’, in which it will store customers’ summer tyres over the winter, until they are needed once the temperature has risen in March or April.

- ends -

Sources:

1 - http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/education/teachers/latest_weather_data_uk_rolling_archive.html
2 - Tests carried out by Continental comparing their winter and summer tyres.
3 - http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/nts/when-day/nts0502.xls

Note to editors
The Kwik-Fit Group is the largest independent automotive parts, repair and replacement specialist in Europe and one of the largest in the world. With 1,800 service outlets across Europe it employs 9,000 people.  Kwik-Fit has national UK coverage of 595 service centres and more than 200 mobile tyre fitting vehicles, making it the UK’s leading tyre, exhaust, brake and MoT specialist.

The Group, established in 1971, is owned by PAI Partners. The pan European private equity firm completed its acquisition of the Group in August 2005.

For further information please contact:
Patrick Evans / Brandon Stockwell / Toby Clark
Citigate Dewe Rogerson Tel: 020 7638 9571