Despite offering proven safety benefits such as cutting braking distances in cold weather and providing more grip when it snows, UK drivers continually shun winter tyres.
Now, research by Falken tyres finds that a quarter of motorists refuse to buy winter tyres, simply because the cost is too high.
Another 20% don’t believe the UK gets cold enough to need them, while 19% just can’t be bothered with the hassle of changing.
Many winter tyres cost upwards of £100 each, and many users prefer to have a second set of wheels rather than swapping tyres over on their regular alloys, adding to the cost commitment.
Falken’s UK director Matt Smith said: “Even for owners of the UK’s most common car, the Ford Fiesta, the cost of winter wheels tyres could cost well in excess of £500, plus there’s also the problem of storage space.
“The results surprised us, particularly the belief that the UK climate was sufficiently mild enough not to need cold weather tyres. Exacta weather is predicting a very cold winter and consumers seem to have forgotten the conditions that caused travel disruption from just three or four years ago.”
Alarmingly, nearly one in 10 questioned said they’d never heard of winter tyres. A legal requirement in colder parts of Europe, winter tyres contain more natural rubber so don’t harden when it’s cold.
This means they work better when temperatures drop below 7°C, while a special tread pattern means they have more grip in snow and ice.
The tyre maker suggests that all-season tyres could be the answer, as these work well all year round.
Smith added: “Switching to an all-season tyre could well be the solution for Britain’s drivers unwilling to commit to pure winter tyres. With many sizes on offer, it is often possible to find a tyre that fits the standard rims, eliminating the cost and hassle of having an extra set, solving another issue raised in the survey.”