Winter driving tips

If you intend fitting winter tyres, here are a few simple guidelines to help you get the most from your car and tyres

You may think that because it hardly ever snows where you live, winter tyres are a waste of time. Not so. winter tyres are designed to cope with all types of poor weather conditions, not just snow, giving you greater traction and roadholding on mud-covered roads, and through slush and ice.

What's more, their rubber compound is specially formulated for superior performance on wet roads, and during the winter there are plenty of those! Of course, if you do live in an area prone to heavy snowfall, Cooper has winter tyres specifically designed to give maximum traction.

Many people in colder regions keep a spare set of wheels (usually steel ones; you don't want salt corroding your expensive alloys during the winter months) already mounted with winter tyres, swapping them over at the end of the autumn, keeping them on until spring.

Because Cooper winter tyres are designed to perform well on dry roads, too, you should try some this winter, wherever you live. You never know when the weather could catch you out, and with Cooper winter tyres you'll be well prepared for any eventuality.

Full sets are best
- Fit winter tyres - or M+S tyres, as they're also known - in sets of four. Never mix them with normal road tyres. Studded winter tyres should also be fitted as a foursome; mixing studded tyres with the non-studded variety will lead to unstable braking and cornering.

- Non-studded tyres should be used at reduced speeds for the first 60 miles or so. Studded tyres take longer to bed in, so keep your speed down for the first 200 miles.

Speed ratings
- The speed ratings for winter tyres differ from those of regular road tyres and very often have a reduced speed capability. Make sure you are aware of the maximum safe speed rating of your winter tyres and drive accordingly.

Studs on tarmac
- Away from the snow and icy conditions they are specifically designed for, studs give reduced roadholding and braking ability. So, on snow- and ice-free surfaces, please do not exceed 62mph.

Keep your studs 'directional'
- After a period of use, studs develop a pattern of wear that makes them most effective in the direction they've been travelling. When you take off your studded tyres at the end of the season, mark them in such a way that when next you put them on, they face the 'right' direction.