Driver tips

Winter tyres: 8 myths refuted

posted on 1/12/2017
winter tyres

Is it “yes” or “no” to having winter tyres fitted to your car? It’s a question that recurs every year. And it’s one about which there are some persistent myths. We list a number of them and explain them to you.


1. You don’t really need winter tyres

The advantages of winter tyres are indisputable. Special additives keep the rubber more elastic at lower temperatures (under 7°C), which gives the winter tyres more grip, improves road holding and reduces the braking distance.

2. Winter tyres are the same as snow tyres

Don’t confuse winter tyres with the rain tyres used in Formula 1 and don’t label them as snow tyres either. Winter tyres or not, you have to adapt your driving style on slippery roads and, above all, drive more slowly. In the event of snow or ice, you can use snow chains and, between 1 November and 31 March, studded tyres are also permitted in Belgium.

3. All-season tyres are a better choice

This is not true. Although the quality of all-season tyres has improved in recent years, at high temperatures they still perform less well than summer tyres and at low temperatures they do not offer the grip of winter tyres.

4. Winter tyres are expensive

It goes without saying that an extra set of tyres comes with a price tag. However, bear in mind that summer tyres don’t suffer wear and tear when you are driving on winter tyres, which means that they last longer.

5. Winter tyres provide no benefit during the mild Belgian winter

Winter tyres are not just useful when it’s freezing. They provide extra grip on the road surface as soon as the temperature drops below 7°C. And that happens regularly during the winter in Belgium. Therefore, winter tyres are certainly recommended in Belgium as well.

6. Winter tyres perform less well in wet weather

In the past, winter tyres were less reliable in heavy rain. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Today’s winter tyres have an adapted profile and a deep tread, ensuring that they always have sufficient grip on the road, even in rainy conditions.

7. If your car is equipped with ABS or ESP, you do not need winter tyres

This statement is absolutely not true. ABS, or an anti-lock braking system, prevents your wheels from locking when you brake sharply. ESP, a kind of power steering system, supports you when your car threatens to skid. Both systems only work if there is adequate tyre grip. The combination of these systems together with winter tyres is therefore ideal.

8. With winter tyres, you can permit yourself to do more on the road

This is not true of course. Winter tyres are not miracle tyres and therefore cannot guarantee you a 100% safe ride. Your driving style is still the most important factor in avoiding accidents. So - especially in the slippery winter months - be careful on the road.

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