Truths and Myths About Winter Driving: Michelin Road Usage Lab Primer for Busy Mums

4:20 AM

A lot of myths surround winter driving. For us to be able to take the necessary precautions during extreme weather conditions such as winter, we need to know the truth behind all these myths. Mothers have to face winter conditions with their children at the back seat of the car as they go about bringing them to school, shopping, and commuting to work and that is an unavoidable part of life.

It is a good thing that Michelin Road Usage Lab has come out with timely tips based on extensive research to explode and debunk some long-existing myths.

Myth #1 

Snow is the biggest driving menace.

Truth: During the winter season, 95% of road accidents do not happen on snowy roads. One study from VUFO reveals that 57% of accidents happened when the road wasn't even wet.

What does matter is the temperature. Rubber hardens and reduces its grip when exposed to cold weather. Cold-weather tyres are specifically designed to reduce the impact of hardening, enabling them to maintain their good road grip. It is important therefore to ensure that the right rubber is used, whatever the weather forecast is.

Myth # 2

The city is safer than than the country.

Truth: Those twisty and turny tracks in rural areas are not exactly very appealing to driving mums because of the common impression that accidents are more likely to happen while negotiating these roads. The fact is, fewer accidents happen in the countryside as over 2/3 or 68% of reportable incidents in winter happened in the city.

Well-lit and well-salted urban streets can actually be riskier than mountain tracks. This is because frequent stop-start driving increases the chances of skids and shunts. It just makes perfect sense that more braking and more cornering equate to more opportunities for something to happen. Preparing your car for winter makes the difference. Switching to winter tyres will keep your family safe.

Myth # 3

Winter tyres mean snow tyres.

Truth: Many drivers think that winter tyres only work on snow-covered roads. Winter conditions go beyond those white stuff but also include cold weather freezing fog, heavy rain, and black ice, among a long list of possibilities. 

The ability to be able to stop when needed is very critical in winter and cold weather conditions. Winter-grade tyres perform much better under braking in all cold conditions. A properly equipped car will take 4 meters less distance to stop from 49 mph at under 6 degrees centigrade. That's a whole car's length distance!

Myth # 4

It's not worth changing tyres for a short ski trip.

Truth: While this may not be applicable to driving to holiday ski homes that are just a few miles away like most people have in UK, it is always worth changing to winter tyres for that couple of hours drive to your holiday home. 

Ski slopes are just that - slopey, and having proper winter tyres increases traction on hills in cold condition by a staggering percent. The right tyres will get you up a 13% gradient and will keep you safe going down.

Myth # 5

Winter tyres slow you down.

Truth: Some people complain that winter tyres feel heavy and sluggish. Driving on snow and ice can certainly feel that way. The important thing to remember is that cold-weather tyres perform more efficiently than summer tyres on such condition. 

Acceleration is one area of concern here. It makes perfect sense to be careful about your speed in winter. Winter tyres can get you moving three times faster than summer tyres on snow because of the better grip and low-temperature performance.

My Say

Mums can never be too careful when it comes to their families. Why risk accidents that can be avoided with the use the proper product and common sense?

Michelin, the company from Clermont Ferrand has been continuously studying how people drive for more than 125 years and does not intend to stop. By watching thousands of drivers each year in hundreds of varied driving conditions all over Europe, it continues to uncover fresh insights how people really use their cars today. It does so with one purpose which is to provide the safest driving experience possible.

That said, now I can say that I have gained very helpful tips, if and when I do get the chance to drive on such weather conditions. 

For more information, visit: total performance

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