Bridgestone Europe & Mike Humble:
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Bridgestone’s attempts to keep motorists safe over the Christmas holidays have hit top gear, after the tyre manufacturer turned to an ex-Formula One driver for some seasonal driving advice to complement the creation of a winter tyre product video for the first time.
With a drop in temperatures predicted for the end of December, former Jordan racer Stefano Modena is offering some essential tips to ensure greater safety, while a summer v winter tyre YouTube video has also been compiled with drivers in mind.
Stefano, who is now Bridgestone’s test driver, said: “Driving in winter conditions is something everyone must prepare for. It is not only about having the right tyres; the driver’s behaviour is also essential in these conditions as he or she needs to understand and adapt to different winter hazards.
“It is therefore essential to not only prepare our vehicle, but also ourselves when the weather gets cold.
“Winter tyres offer dramatically improved safety and performance in winter conditions. So when temperatures start to drop, it’s time to make the switch from summer to winter tyres.
“Because road conditions can change quickly and drastically, it’s important to regularly test how much traction you can count on in case you have to brake or swerve suddenly. Gently apply the brake every now and again and slow down, if needed, in response to changing road conditions.”
Stefano added that cornering manoeuvres on snow or icy surfaces should be broken down into smaller steps, while cruise control should be avoided at all costs.
“Forget the cruise control. In wet or icy conditions, you constantly need to adapt your speed to the conditions. Switch off the cruise control and maintain manual control of acceleration and deceleration at all times.
“And if in doubt, don’t drive. If the weather looks too treacherous, leave the car at home. Nothing should be more important than your safety and that of your loved ones.”
Both internal and independent testing has proven that the braking distance of summer tyres can be almost three times longer than that of winter tyres on snow. But even in less extreme conditions, winter tyres offer greatly enhanced response, precision and control than their summer counterparts.