With weather forecasters predicting another severe winter for the UK, and snow arriving as early as this week, the nation’s motorists are urged to look back twelve months as they prepare for the season ahead.
New research for Kwik-Fit(1) reveals that over 70% of drivers were affected by the weather last winter, with one in three drivers skidding on Britain’s roads. 15% of drivers were involved in, or witnessed, an accident and 12% only narrowly avoided a collision.
Four out of ten drivers had to put off a trip last winter due to the conditions, and one in six had to abandon their journey.
Kwik-Fit, the UK’s biggest tyre retailer, believes that as well as learning from the recent past, we can learn from our European neighbours. In a number of EU countries, winter tyres are mandatory between specified dates, with Germany set to be the latest country to introduce this law. Now Kwik-Fit has launched a campaign to educate UK drivers on the benefits of winter tyres.
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. These conditions come much earlier than most people think - only last week a third of the UK’s weather stations recorded morning drive time temperatures seven degrees or under.(2)
Tests have shown that under 7°C, winter tyres will stop 4.8 metres shorter on wet roads and 11 metres shorter on icy roads at 20mph(3). However, despite the vast majority of the UK having long term average temperatures below 7°C throughout December – February(4), only a handful of drivers have switched to winter tyres in previous years. Ian Fraser, chief executive of Kwik-Fit, says: “Even drivers who know the difference between winter and regular tyres often believe that they aren’t appropriate in our climate. However, there doesn’t have to be snow on the ground to experience the benefits and avoid some of the slips and slides that many drivers suffered last winter.
“As the temperature falls we are determined to tell people about winter tyres and make sure that they have the chance to experience the benefits well before the arrival of any frost, ice or snow.
“Winter tyres will also last a number of seasons if they are stored properly over summer, and obviously while the summer tyres are in storage, they won’t be wearing down.”
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.
Kwik-Fit has a wide range of winter tyres, stocking Continental, Marangoni and Michelin. Appointments can be booked online at www.kwik-fit.com.
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(1) Research carried out by ICM Research in October 2010 amongst a nationally representative sample of 2013 UK adults
(2) Met Office figures for temperatures at 8am on 12 October across 76 weather stations www.metoffice.gov.uk/education/teachers/latest_weather_data_uk_rolling_archive.html
(3) Tests carried out by Continental comparing their winter and summer tyres
(4) Met Office figures for long term average temperatures – most recent period (1970- 2000) http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/averages/ukmapavge.html
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