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Drivers warned over winter tyres

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The Guild of Experienced Motorists (GEM) is warning drivers not to overestimate the capabilities of winter tyres as the cold weather draws near.

While winter tyre models are more effective in chilly temperatures than all-weather versions, they should not be used as an excuse to drive recklessly on icy or snow-laden roads.

Taking risks behind the wheel could have severe repercussions for the driver's car insurance costs if they are involved in an accident for which they are at fault.

David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive, said: "Winter tyres are most efficient in temperatures below 8°C when the rubber and silicon compounds in normal tyres are affected; reducing their flexibility and resilience.

"In such temperatures, winter tyres will significantly reduce stopping distances and offer more feedback to the driver's fingers. However, when slush, ice and snow are on the roads, motorists must remain as cautious as ever."

Mr Williams advises motorists to buy a set of each type of tyre and swap them when the seasons change in order to ensure both sets last longer. He also highlights the importance of storing the tyres in a suitable place to ensure they are not ruined by the elements.

He added: "The most important issue for us is making sure motorists, whatever tyres they have fitted, take extra care when driving in wintry conditions.

"Leaving much more space between the car in front allowing more time to brake, and driving at speeds that suit the conditions around them will help prevent serious accidents this winter."

© Press Association 2011