Van drivers urged to stay safe with winter tyres

With ice and snow across much of the country, van drivers are being urged to make sure their tyres are fit for winter conditions.

Commercial vehicle leasing firm LeaseVan.co.uk warned that drivers are 20% more likely to be involved in a road accident during the winter months.

Specialist winter tyres are a good option for many -- especially those who drive long distances or on remote country roads.

Winter tyres improve traction in slippery conditions and are designed to help drivers maintain better control of the vehicle when road conditions deteriorate. The tyres work best when temperatures drop below seven degrees, improving traction, grip and braking performance.

As the charity TyreSafe explains, winter tyres stay supple and provide the best levels of grip even at low temperatures -- unlike summer tyres which harden in these conditions. They also have an increased number of 'sipes' or grooves in the tread, allowing more contact with the road in icy or wet conditions.

In Britain, most vans are fitted with standard tyres and while it is not mandatory to have winter tyres during the colder months, unlike some European countries, they do significantly reduce the risk of skidding or losing control of the vehicle.

"Driving any vehicle in cold, wintry conditions can be perilous but being behind the wheel of a van or truck with a heavy load is even more dangerous due to decreased stability and longer braking distances," said Tim Alcock from LeaseVan.co.uk.

"Drivers using the specially designed tyres will feel more in control of their vehicle when on wet and icy roads, where a normal summer tyre would struggle for grip and traction.

"The tyres are a useful investment for drivers who will cover hundreds of miles during the winter months. It is recommended to have them fitted around October and then return to summer tyres the following March, meaning drivers can get five to six months use from them."

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