With latest weather forecasts warning us in the UK that we can expect some snow how prepared are you for some real winter weather?
The prolonged period of winter weather in 2009 highlighted how unprepared we are in the U.K. often are for intense winter weather. Perhaps I shouldn’t generalize because people in the north of the British isles tend to fare better than their soft southern counterparts. Scotland tends to be better able to cope with intense wintery conditions as they experience some bad winter weather nearly every year.
One problem that arose early in 2009 was that gritting trucks ran out of road grit. It has been said that this was due to local authorities not having enough funds. But this really comes down to poor resource planning. While the south can experience periods of intensely bad winter weather they tend to be shortlived. There wasn’t enough grit to cope with the prolonged five weeks of snow.
But what do they do in countries like Sweden and Norway where snow lays on the ground for most of the winter?
Driving on snow covered, icy roads is treacherous. Not only as a result of slippery road surfaces but also due to poor visibility caused by snow, sleet and slush. Winter tyres can be a good idea.
Although they do grit their roads in both Norway and Sweden they often limit this to busy road junctions only. Once you are away from the busy main town and city roads you’ll be driving mainly on compacted snow and ice. When driving on these road surfaces you must always travel slowly and never make any sudden movements. Overtaking is a bad idea in these conditions.
A good set of winter tyres can be enormously beneficial. The rubber contains added silicone which helps the tyres to remain flexible at low temperatures. These tyres will also have heavier tread patterns and fine lateral lines that help to increase the surface area of the tyre in contact with the road surface.
Another option is snow chains, but it should be remembered that these are really only useful in snow and not much use on icy surfaces.Another type of tyre to consider are metal studded tyres which can be helpful in icy road conditions.
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