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Fleets need to prepare for Big Freeze

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A weather forecast expert has warned Fleets to pre-order sets of cold weather tyres now or risk missing out.  The stark warning comes ahead of his long-range forecast that predicts heavy snowfall and very low temperatures throughout the winter of 2011/2012.

The end of 2011 is predicted to exceed all records in terms of snow-fall and low temperatures predicts the same man who predicted harsh conditions for the last two winters.

This will be the fourth successive bad winter the UK has faced, and it is predicted to be the worst of them all.

Last years ‘big freeze’ saw roads and fleets come to a standstill, with the M61 in Lancashire fully deserted in the run up to Christmas, and motorists trapped on the M6 for up to five hours by the Manchester junctions.

Supply vs Demand

Reports suggest that Kwikfit has already sold-out of their 50,000 allocation of winter tyres for commercial vehicles, although they have kept 5,000 back for light industry vehicles.

Last year saw fleets of cars and vans abandoned at the sides of the road with motorists having to complete their journeys on foot, as demand for winter tyres far outstripped supply.

Experts believe that with winter tyres being a legal requirement in some European countries, there is simply not enough tyres to go around, which is why they advise to order now, as by the time the cold weather comes they feel it will be too late.

Grip or Slip?

According to the Department of Transport Road Accident Statistics, the number of accidents caused by wet road conditions increases in winter by 267%.

Winter tyres significantly increase handling, and reduce stopping distances in low temperature conditions such as ice and snow.  Test have shown on some brands that from just 10mph, winter tyres stopped in 6.4 meters, while the normal tyre needed more than twice the distance to stop (14 metres).  They work by having a high level of natural rubber in the compound, so it won’t harden as much as synthetic rubber in cold weather.

Many believe that winter tyres can only be used on cars, vans or fleets when the roads are icy or covered in snow; however experts advise that they can provide better advantages than normal tyres in conditions below 7°C.

Not only do the tyres provide added safety with their grip and shorter stopping distances, they improve fuel economy as the better grip will reduce tyre wear.


By Ben Malkin

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