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Winter Tyres

November 13, 2018

Study reveals motorists haven’t got to grips with winter tyres when driving abroad

Motorists well educated about benefits of winter tyres but are naive when it comes to foreign law

A staggering 87 per cent of car owners in Great Britain are unaware which Continental Europe countries make winter tyres mandatory.

The YouGov survey, commissioned by The Motor Ombudsman, comes as part of the automotive dispute resolution’s provider’s newly-launched campaign to increase consumer knowledge of winter tyres, and to highlight the importance of having them fitted at one of the thousands of reputable businesses in the UK which are accredited to its Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair.

The study of over 1,400 car owners in Great Britain revealed that only around one in ten (13 per cent) people know that they would need to change their car tyres to be legally compliant at their destination, with male drivers (14 per cent), the 18 to 24s (29 per cent), and those living in London (18 per cent) the most up to speed regarding the rules.

Of the individuals surveyed, less than a third (28 per cent) stated that a winter tyre is most effective in temperatures below seven degrees.

Winter tyre benefits

Those in the 35 to 44 age bracket (33 per cent) were the most well-versed when it comes to being familiar with this key benefit, with the least knowledgeable being motorists in their late teens (over 18) and early 20s (78 per cent of the age group).

However, around six in ten car owners are au fait about the advantages of winter tyres when the mercury dips, whilst a similar proportion (61 per cent) are able to identify how they vary from summer equivalents.

From those who were able to state how the tyres differ, 89 per cent knew that the grip level is improved in colder weather.

More than half of survey participants explained that they deliver shorter braking distances in colder temperatures (55 per cent), with just over one in three individuals (34 per cent) having observed that a winter tyre features different sidewall symbols to that of the summer tyre commonly seen on UK roads.

Avoid falling foul of foreign law

Commenting on the findings of the study, Bill Fennell, chief ombudsman and managing director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “On the one hand, they are knowledgeable about the merits that winter tyres offer in more challenging conditions, but on the other, there is significantly less understanding of what the laws are when heading abroad.

“This therefore reinforces the need for car owners, before they set off on their journey this winter, to spend time doing research and to make sure that they are prepared to avoid falling foul of the law, which ultimately compromises safety.

“In addition, it’s just as important that motorists visit a reputable garage, such as one accredited to The Motor Ombudsman, that is qualified to fit them and to provide the right guidance to meet the needs of customers.”

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