Functioning of the winter pattern

Do not wait for the weather alarm

The Dutch winter is difficult to predict. Sudden snow can cause enormous traffic problems and long waiting times for tyre specialists. Our advice: prepare yourself well and change tyres on time. A good time to change is the start of winter and summer time. That is also when VACO’s road safety campaign ‘The Tyre Change Weeks’ starts.

What is the difference between a winter tyre and an all-season tyre?

An all-season tyre is a summer and winter tyre in one. This type of tyre is a compromise. This is also demonstrated in tyre tests by the ADAC, the German counterpart of the ANWB. Each time, the all-season tyre appears to perform less than winter tyres at temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius. If you do choose all-season tyres, choose tyres with a snowflake symbol.

Why change from summer to winter tyres and vice versa?

With winter tyres you have a better braking distance
The rubber of a winter tyre is softer than that of a summer tyre. This provides more flexibility and grip at lower temperatures (below 7 degrees). On a snowy road, the braking distance is therefore more than half as short as with summer tyres. This means that at a speed of 50 km/h, you will stop no less than 28 metres earlier. On wet roads, the braking distance with winter tyres is also shorter.

Winter tyres give you more grip
The pattern of a winter tyre contains so-called sipes. These are small notches and act as a kind of ‘gripper’ on the road. This gives you more grip when braking and accelerating on, for example, snow.

Which winter tyre should I choose?

Choose a winter tyre with the snowflake symbol on the side. In addition, it is important that you buy winter tyres with the right technical characteristics. The most important technical characteristics are the load index and the speed symbol.

VACO advice: tyres with snowflake symbol

VACO advises motorists to purchase winter tyres marked with the snowflake symbol. Tyres with the snowflake symbol comply with European tests for grip on hit snow and therefore have much more traction on a snowy and slippery road surface than tyres without the snowflake symbol.

Winter tires also for Dutch winters?

Yes, winter tyres perform better than summer tyres at temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius. Even in the mildest winters, the average temperature in the Netherlands is lower, according to KNMI figures.


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