Why winter tires?

My tires & the seasons

The right tire combined with weather-appropriate driving behavior significantly increases driving safety.  This is particularly so in winter when colder weather means that driving conditions worsen and the risk of road accidents is increased.  Winter tires are especially designed to provide optimum performance when cornering, braking and driving uphill or downhill in snowy and icy winter conditions as well as at low temperature. They use special compounds, blade and sipe technologies together with distinctive tread designs which give the tires a high grip on wet, snow and ice and can significantly reduce braking distances in winter weather.  Winter tires are not only useful in snow conditions but will also provide improved performance over summer tires on dry roads when temperatures are lower than 7ºC.

Goodyear EMEA* Recommendation

True winter tires, i.e. with both M+S and 3 peak snowflake symbol markings, make a difference for safety in winter conditions particularly for passenger and light commercials vehicles (cars and vans).Therefore Goodyear EMEA* strongly recommends the fitment of four proper winter tires in winter condition. In some European countries the use of M+S tires in the colder months is obligatory [see section below]. As the legislation with the new marking progressively enters into force, national winter tire laws are likely to extend to tires with both M+S and 3 peak snowflake symbol. 

For commercial vehicles, tires designed for winter conditions are beneficial mainly for mobility, by ensuring traction and hence preventing road blockages. Since the drive axle is the key one for traction of a commercial vehicle, the 3PSMF marking on drive axle tires is of high importance. This recommendation is valid especially single drive axle for commercial vehicles above 44 tons.

Why Goodyear EMEA* believes winter tires are important for improved mobility and better road safety?

The right tire combined with weather-appropriate driving behavior significantly increases driving safety.  This is particularly so in winter when colder weather means that driving conditions worsen and the risk of road accidents is increased.  Winter tires are the best solution thanks to, among others, special design and compounds. Indeed, winter tires are equipped with wide tread blocks and extra cuts in the tread called “sipes” that give the tire extra bite to grip winter roads and displace accumulated snow.

Much more than ‘snow tires’.

Winter tire technology not only enhances road safety and mobility in snow and ice but also enables vehicles to perform better in cold weather conditions when temperatures fall below 7ᵒC.  Winter tires need to deliver optimal performance in a host of bad weather scenarios: in slush, snow and ice, on dry and wet roads, when going uphill and downhill, and while braking, accelerating and cornering. So how do they work?  Well, there are several special technologies in the Goodyear EMEA* development process that allow winter tires to perform better.  These include:

  • The types and composition of the tread pattern
  • Softer and more flexible polymer compounds
  • The special sipe technology
  • The shape of the contact patch: specially designed grooves and complex 3D sipes
  • The distinctive tread design

In fact while these tires are legally defined as 'snow tires' (under the European Directive 92/23, EU Regulation 661/2009, UNECE Regulation 117.02) consumer and manufacturers usually refer to them as 'winter tires' due to the enhanced performance they offer in cold weather conditions - even before the snow and ice have arrived. 

For commercial vehicles, which need to be on the road whatever the weather, tires designed for winter conditions are a must as they provide traction and ensure that bad weather will not interfere with business and deliveries.  Avoiding blocked roads due to heavy duty vehicles reduces congestion risks and also means that freight operators will not be hit by delayed deliveries or spoiled goods.


Note: For summer and high temperature conditions, Goodyear EMEA* strongly recommends the use of summer tires, as they deliver the optimal performance on dry and wet roads.

Some winter tires are manufactured with metal studs in order to optimize traction and handling on icy and snowy roads. These are called studded tires and their use is strictly regulated in several European countries.

More details about the legal status of studded tires.

* Goodyear EMEA/Goodyear Dunlop Tires Group