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Haulage fleets urged to plan winter tyre changes
The start of autumn signals the need for haulage companies and fleet operators to start planning the task of changing to winter tyres.
Although temperatures in Europe haven’t fallen to the levels where winter tyres are necessary just yet, the logistics involved in changing to winter rubber on large numbers of vehicles require early planning and stocking to be ready for the necessary changes.
For large trucks and buses, fitting tyres with the mud and snow (M+S) label to the drive axle is the minimum requirement for legal driving during winter in European countries. However, tests conducted by tyre manufacturer, Continental, show that the company’s tyres shorten the braking distance on snow at a speed of 50 kph (30 mph) by nearly 10 metres when fitted to all axles, rather than just the drive axle. In these tests, it was also found that traction was increased by up to 40% in extreme winter conditions.
Leaving it late until changing to winter tyres has a detrimental effect on safety since such tyres are not just necessary for conditions of snow and ice, they’re also necessary for clear roads which are cold. The rubber compounds used on summer tyres stiffens at temperatures below 7C and become less effective with detrimental changes in handling, grip and traction.
Optimised tyres for each axle
The range of truck and bus tyres from Continental cover every axle position. Front axle tyres are designed to optimise steering performance and directional control while drive axle tyres are optimised for maximum traction and braking force. Trailer axle tyres are designed to provide better cornering and braking grip. There are also function-specific tyre designs for city operations where the driving conditions relate to local deliveries or the frequent stopping and starting of bus routes.
For heavy goods vehicles (HGV), Continental has its “Scandinavia” range of winter tyres which are identified by the snowflake symbol on the tyre wall. Such tyres significantly outperform the minimum legal requirement of M+S tyres in winter conditions as well as exceeding the ECE directive 117.02 requirements for the “Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake” symbol. The range is available in a spectrum of sizes suitable for local distribution and long haul routes.
For public service vehicles (PSV), Continental has its Conti UrbanScandinavia and HSW 2 Coach tyres. The UrbanScandinavia models provide biting edge and sipe features for additional grip on winter roads with a variant designed for the drive axle for maximum traction on city streets covered in snow.
The HSW 2 Coach tyre is designed for longer distance work and has a closed ribbed tread pattern with 3D micro-sipes which can be used on all axles for the safety and comfort of coach passengers.