The winter of 2009-10 was the coldest UK winter in over a decade, with the heaviest snowfall for 18 years falling in early February. Midway through the season, with more bad weather forecast, we took the unprecedented decision to kit out all our delivery vans with special winter tyres. This made us the only company in the UK to fit winter tyres to its entire delivery fleet. Despite the Arctic conditions, dedicated winter tyres are so rare in the UK, we had to go to Scandinavia and Switzerland to source most of them!
Why fit winter tyres?
It’s common practice in many other European countries to fit winter tyres in late autumn and revert back to summer tyres in the spring. Winter tyres provide substantially improved grip and stability in snow or icy conditions; they also give higher levels of grip on cold and damp road surfaces, making them brake better.
How do they work?
Below 7°C, the rubber compound in summer tyres begins to harden, reducing their ability to grip the road surface. Winter tyres stay flexibile at low temperatures and key into the road surface providing better grip and safer driving.
What’s the benefit?
Using winter tyres will improve safety for our drivers – and potentially other road users – in snow or icy weather. It will also improve our ability to deliver to our customers in difficult weather conditions. Obviously, severe weather (not to mention individual councils’ gritting policies) are still beyond our control, but we will always do all we can to keep our vans on the road and delivering groceries to our customers.
As our Co-Founder Tim Steiner said: “We wanted to be proactive, rather than waiting for the roads to be gritted or the sun to come out! By fitting winter tyres to our delivery vans, we hope to be able to go places and do things others cannot.”