Heavy snowfall forces domestic fleets to check tyre safety

DOMESTIC fleets have been forced to invest in winter tyres and fitments this winter as Britain witnessed its heaviest snowfall in 50 years this January.

Specialist winter tyre companies, who have long been waiting for something to kick start the market, are seeing a huge increase in demand from couriers and British road hauliers as the cold snap bites.

The Continental Tyre Group specifically, one of the top four truck tyre manufacturers in Europe, have seen a 50% increase in sales of winter tyres and fitments in the period October to January this year, compared with the same time-frame last year.

But the rise in demand comes as no surprise to industry experts who have been campaigning for the government to provide more guidance on driving in the snow and ice as Britain sees more and more severe weather conditions.

Unlike other European countries who get a lot of snow, and as a result, make winter tyres, snow chains and minimum tread compulsory, the UK has no legislation prioritising safety in cold weather and limited advice as to how logistics firms might prepare for it.

Daniel Parry, Managing Director of deliveryquotecompare.com, a price comparison and referral website for shipping, transportation and courier services, said: “As more and more logistics companies compete for business, there is increasing pressure on service providers to deliver goods quickly and efficiently.

“Not only does the snow and ice delay deliveries if vehicles are not equipped with winter tyres, there are obvious dangers associated with driving without the correct tyres and fitments, as well as driving fast to make up for lost time.

“With the UK seeing more and more adverse weather conditions, and further snow and icey weather predicted for February, it is ever-more important that the government issue thorough and practical guidelines on the subject, and put the relevant legislation in place to ensure driver safety.”

In light of increasing legislation in other countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland, Continental recommends that commercial vehicle operators prepare well in advance for cross-border deliveries before leaving British and Irish shores.

On top of tyres and fitments, critics of the current policy on driving in ice and snow in the UK say that we also need more road signs and warnings for drivers.

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