Winter tyres are designed to perform best when the temperature drops below 7°C. The compound mixtures used guarantee these products retain their flexibility. This is vital, as a soft tyre ensures a high level of grip, while a hardened tyre can cause uncontrollable skids - something which can prove very dangerous on slippery surfaces.
Likewise, the structure and tread pattern on the best winter road tyres are designed to support these qualities. For example, the additional grooves and sipes help offer grip, as well as protecting against aquaplaning. The blocks are also designed in different sizes, to help the tyre self-clean its own treads, ensuring the best grip when it bites into the snow. This pattern ensures the snow leaves the tyre, preventing any build up along the tread grooves.
Winter tyres also feature peripheral grooves, which help remove water and slush from under the vehicle, increasing stability. As far as tread patterns go, these tyres typically use directional or asymmetric tyres. Directional treads help push snow out, while also providing continued contact with the ground. Asymmetric tyres, alternatively, have different characteristics on the inner and outer sides of the tread. The inside segments ensure effective water runoff, while the outer edge offers better traction and grip while cornering.
While some countries use spikes, these are not legal in the UK, but snow chains and snow socks are. These can enhance your winter tyres and are often used in regions where the snow is exceptionally plentiful.