There are countries where the use of winter tires is essential for several months a year, but in Spain, we have always circulated without them. For some years, manufacturers have also advised its use in our country, are they worth it? In Spain, they are true strangers no matter how much the media emphasizes the recommendation of their use when the winter dates approach. They have their drawbacks, but above them is the unprecedented advantage of increasing security.
As much as manufacturers, both cars and tires, and media emphasize the need and importance of the use of winter tires when the weather becomes adverse. The reality is that in warm countries like Spain, they remain unknown, and there is no custom of using them in our vehicles. Quite the opposite of what happens in European countries where the use of this type of tire is fully entrenched and without which cars would be almost unusable for several months of the year.
In Spain, driving on snow is associated with the use of chains, but while they only use in snowy situations, winter tires improve the safety and performance of the car in all kinds of adverse conditions. When the temperature falls below 7º, a standard tire loses its adhesion efficiency due to the hardening of the rubber, even if the asphalt conditions are optimal. It should also bear in mind that chains only mounted on the vehicle’s drive wheels, unlike winter tires that mounted on all four, so there will be conditions in which they are even more effective than the chains. All this added to the discomfort of putting on and taking off the chains.
Therefore, the use of winter tires highly recommended as long as the temperature is frequently below seven degrees. Under these conditions, they do not lose properties like standard tires. For example, if circulating below this temperature on wet asphalt at a speed of 80 km / h, emergency braking is necessary, winter tires will shorten the braking distance by 12 meters. They also greatly improve adhesion and reduce the risk of aquaplaning. Therefore, if you frequently travel in places with snow or ice, the use of winter tires more than recommended should be essential.
Winter tires are a legal alternative to chains in snow situations. In Spain, the use of winter tires is allowed and regulated by law, according to Royal Decree 2822/1998 of December 23 of the General Vehicle Regulations.
To use them, the only advice to keep in mind is that they must have 0.2 bar more pressure than that recommended by the car manufacturer for normal tires. The reason an increase in pressure is to compensate for the difference between the measured and the actual pressure when the temperatures are very low.
The fact that in many areas of Spain, there are no adverse weather conditions on an ongoing basis, is one of the possible reasons to understand that drivers are not aware of the importance of using these tires.
Besides, there is the discomfort of having to change tires twice a year, have a place to store them, etc. As with everything in life, nothing is perfect, but we all have our priority scale. The decision is to choose if you prefer the comfort and savings of not having to change tires or the security that winter ones can offer you. What do you prefer?