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Drivers, see and be seen, and check the condition of your tyres

10/30/18, 8:00 AM

Correct use of lights, keeping the windscreen clean and checking the condition of tyres are very important procedures in the autumn darkness, while waiting for winter. You should change to winter tyres according to your own transport needs.

“In the darkness of autumn, drivers should ensure that the visibility of traffic will be not be hindered or made difficult due to their own indifference. The windscreen and all other windows should be clean and free from ice, and, of course, you should also ensure that the car lights work and that you use them correctly. In a nutshell: see and be seen, and check the condition of your tyres. You will do well in the autumn and winter traffic by following these three tips”, Trafi's Chief Adviser Jussi Pohjonen sums up.

  1. Ensure visibility
    Replace broken bulbs or get them replaced. Familiarise yourself with your car lights and use them correctly.
  2. Make sure you can see
    You should pay attention to the condition of your windscreen washer. Check that the wiper blades work properly and the windscreen washer fluid is freeze-proof. Reserve enough time for the preparations before driving. You should always clean the glass surfaces of snow and ice before driving the vehicle. Cleaning the glasses on the inside from dust accumulated in the summer improves visibility and reduces glare. In the autumn, it is worth considering preheating the car: an internal heater speeds up the cleaning of windows, while an engine heater saves battery power, fuel and the environment.
  3. Check the tyres.
    Tyres should be checked regularly at least in terms of pressure, tread depth, and the condition of studs in studded tyres. Winter tyres’ tread depth should be at least 3,0 mm. Checking the condition of the studs can be done easily by stroking the surface of the tyre by hand. Pay also attention to the quantity of studs, as the other tyres may not have more than 25% less studs than the tyre which has the biggest number of studs.

The condition of summer tyres is charted on a regular basis on the road, but the condition of winter tyres has been studied less. An observation survey completed last March revealed that in one third of the audited cars, the condition of the winter tyres left much to be desired in terms of, for instance, tread depth and studding.

“The study also indicated that drivers do not necessarily assess the condition of their tyres correctly. All drivers can easily check the basics of their tyre conditions, which should be paid more attention to”, says Special Adviser Keijo Kuikka.

According to the findings, less than 14% of winter tyres on average were friction tyres. Friction tyres were much more common in Southern Finland than in Central and Northern Finland. The research sample consisted of approximately 2 500 passenger cars from 13 different locations.

The study about passenger car tyres in winter conditions last March (link in Finnish) has been published in full on the Trafi website. The study was carried out by consultancy firm J Lahti Interaction.

Changing to winter tyres according to your own transport needs

Winter tyres should be used from the beginning of December until the end of February. This winter season, studded tyres may be used from the beginning of November until the Monday following Easter Monday, that is, almost up until the end of April, and also at other times if the weather requires. The use of friction tyres does not have similar time restrictions.

"If you have to start driving early in morning and you have to drive the car daily, you should, of course, change to winter tyres earlier than if the vehicle can, if necessary, be left at home”, Pohjonen points out.

Inquiries:
Jussi Pohjonen, Chief Adviser, tel. +358 29 5345 310, jussi.pohjonen(at)trafi.fi, on Twitter @JussiPohjonen
Special Adviser Keijo Kuikka, tel. +358 29 5345 518, keijo.kuikka (at) trafi.fi