Good traction on winter roads

20 Dec 2023

Winter tires shorten braking distance

“Anybody intending to use their vehicle regularly in the winter months definitely needs to invest in some winter tires,” says DEKRA tire expert Christian Koch. “Even if climate change means that the average temperatures are tending to rise, we still need to be on our guard for extreme winter conditions, as was indeed the case last year.”
At lower temperatures the summer tires suffer from significant safety deficits. Because the rubber mix of summer tires hardens at lower temperatures, their grip worsens. This in turn means that the braking path on wet, snowy or icy roads lengthens and the grip and traction drops off and not just in bends.
Winter tires are different. Special rubber mixes specifically for cold conditions, deeper tread and their lamella structure provide good grip even when the temperatures drop considerably. This ensures not only safety in icy and snowy conditions, but also on wet or dirty fall and spring roads.

Winter tires required

Once the winter tires have been fitted, motorists can then get into their car without any worries should wintry conditions suddenly hit the road and the localized obligation to don winter tires kicks in. Only those vehicles equipped with four winter tires are allowed out on black ice, packed snow, mush, ice, or frost. Reliable winter tires are designated by the snowflake mountain pictogram.

“However, winter tires can only generate their full potential when they possess sufficient tread depth”

DEKRA Tire Expert Christian Koch
The statutorily prescribed 1.6 millimeters does not suffice for safe driving in the wet and snow. He recommends a minimum tread depth of four millimeters. And this is precisely the figure that, for example, Austrian winter tire regulations stipulate.