As the weather turns colder, are you prepared to face the hazards of winter driving? Bridgestone Europe encourages travellers to prepare their cars for winter weather and brush up on their winter driving skills.
“Winter driving can be intimidating and hazardous and is something that you really do need to prepare for,” says, Jake Rønsholt, Corporate and Brand Communications, Bridgestone Europe. “It’s not just about having the right equipment; it’s also important that drivers understand how to correctly respond to various winter hazards. We all have a responsibility to make sure we prepare not just our vehicles but also ourselves.”
Some key tips for winter driving from Bridgestone and experts at the Bridgestone Winter Proving Ground in Vidsel, Sweden include:
• When it gets cold, it’s time to switch. When the temperature drops, switch your summer tyres to winter tyres. Winter tyres have special materials and design to provide more grip and safety in cold and frozen conditions.
• Periodically check traction, or available grip, when driving in challenging conditions. Road conditions can change drastically in a short period of time or distance in winter. Apply the brakes with moderate pressure to determine the available grip and modify your driving, if needed, to respond to ever-changing road conditions.
• Maximize available grip by separating driving manoeuvres when negotiating a curve. Brake to an appropriate speed while travelling in a straight line prior to a curve. This allows you to use all the available grip for negotiating the curve. Accelerate gradually when you are able to straighten the steering wheel at the exit of the turn.
• Avoid cruise control in wet, icy or snowy conditions. Maintain control of acceleration and deceleration at all times.
• Don’t drive if the weather looks too treacherous. Safety comes first.
“One of the most important factors in starting, steering, or stopping on ice and snow is your tyres,” says Jake Rønsholt, Corporate and Brand Communications, Bridgestone Europe. “It doesn’t make a difference if you have front-wheel, all-wheel or rear-wheel drive; your vehicle will perform better in most winter driving conditions if it is equipped with winter tyres on both the front and rear wheels.”
Winter tyres are designed to provide maximum performance during low winter temperatures and on ice, snow and slush. They use compound materials that remain soft and supple in colder temperatures and tread designs with small grooves for added “edge effect” and grip on ice and snow.
Bridgestone internal testing as well as tests conducted by a third party* show that on snow, the braking distance for a summer tyre can be almost three times longer than a winter tyre! But winter tyres are not only more effective than summer tyres on frozen surfaces; they also provide better grip and safety in all winter conditions. This is why, Bridgestone, as a tyre manufacturer, strongly recommends changing to winter tyres not just when snow falls but already when cold weather strikes.
A tyre for all conditions
Bridgestone has redefined its position in the winter tyre market with the launch of new products and an expanded range of premium tyres designed for all types of winter conditions in Europe. From temperate areas with wet winters to cold but variable central European weather and severe northern European conditions, Bridgestone now has a top-performing line-up for wet, dry, snow, slush and ice.
The backbone of this new winter range is built around four recently launched products: the A001 Weather Control for moderate, wet climates; the lamellen Blizzak LM-32 and Blizzak LM-80 (4x4 and SUV) for variable central European winters; and the Blizzak WS70 with Multicell compound for extreme northern European conditions.
All these tyres have been designed with Bridgestone’s latest winter tread and compound technologies, supported by heavy R&D investment and product testing at Bridgestone’s new winter proving ground in northern Sweden. They have also all received strong results in winter tyre tests from AutoBild, ADAC, ÖAMTC, TCS, ACE and GTÜ**.
* Test conducted by independent test center for Bridgestone. Track: compact snow, Speed: 35kmh to 5kmh, Tyres: 225/55 R16 95W Bridgestone premium (summer) and 225/55 R16 99H XL Bridgestone lamellen (winter), Vehicle: Audi A4 Saloon. “Test World”, Ivalo, Finland, 04/2009.
** AutoBild 04/10/12. ADAC 27/09/2012. ÖAMTC, TCS, ACE and GTÜ September 2012.