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All About: Snow Socks and Snow Chains

After the road chaos caused by last week’s country-wide snow storms, many motorists are looking into contingency plans, just in case the frosty weather returns. When faced with our inability to cope with a relatively small amount of snow, we tend to look at other countries and what they do to ensure that their lives don’t come to a grinding halt as soon as there is a flake or two.

Garages are reporting increased inquiries about how motorists can improve their safety when driving in icy conditions, including the use of snow socks and snow chains. This blog will take you through the basics.

What Are Snow Socks?

Snow socks are pretty much what they sound like: a material cover that you can put over your tyres to improve their grip on snow and ice. In severe winter conditions, drivers may use winter tyres but realistically, they are only needed in exceptional circumstances in the UK. Snow socks are no substitute for winter tyres, but in usual UK conditions, when there is a mixture of driving on gritty surfaces and the occasional icy or snowy road, they can improve the driver’s peace of mind.

Snow Socks In The UK

Cautious drivers, or those who have been caught out by an unexpected snow storm and become stranded in the snow in the past, may be inclined to use snow socks in the UK. While they are legal, they are not necessarily needed. However, they can reduce your braking distance on icy roads by twenty metres.

What Are Snow Chains?

Snow chains are durable chains that grip around your tyres to improve traction on slippery road surfaces. They can be made of metal or other durable materials and come in different patterns, designed to add as much friction as possible between slippery surfaces and the vehicle.

Snow Chains In The UK

Unless they live in areas affected by cold and snow, and where the roads are largely untreated, UK motorists will rarely need to use snow chains. Unlike the use of snow socks, it is illegal to use snow chains in the UK on normal tyres on gritted roads. This is because the chain can cause costly damage to the road surface.

Chains or Socks?

If you live in an area heavily affected by snow and ice, and which is unlikely to be gritted, you can use snow chains; if poor road conditions as a result of winter storms are a regular occurrence, you may even want to consider investing in winter tyres. However, if you are likely to drive on a mixture of road conditions; mainly gritted, with the occasional icy, untreated road surface, snow socks on your tyres could improve your safety as well as your peace of mind.

If you are unsure about the safety of your tyres in any weather conditions, head to your local garage, where they will be happy to check your tyres for you and recommend the best tyres to meet your needs.

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