Take care of a safe Christmas on the road

Celebrate with loved ones, not with saints

Christmas is a period ofheavy traffic. In order for traveling at this time to be safe, it is worth remembering a few basic rules. They concern both the behavior behind the wheel, as well as taking care of the condition and equipment of the car. Its most important element in such uncertain weather is tyres. It is, after all, the link between the car and the surface.

Therefore, before Christmas trips, we remember about the 3P rule – proper tyres, professional service, precise pressure. It is this last element that is now becoming important. When the temperature drops, the pressure also decreases. In addition, for family trips the car is more burdened – more people, additional luggage and packages. This means that the tyres must be inflated to higher values specified in the car's manual or on a sticker at the center pillar or at the fuel filler. Thanks to this, the tyre will correctly transfer the load to the tread, and the inner layers will not overheat and weaken the tyre structure.


The vast majority of drivers in Poland drive no more than 20,000 km per year. The largest group, as much as 30 percent, covers between 10,000 and 20,000 km. Some of these distances are carried out in autumn and winter, also during the holiday season – which is characterized by quickly falling darkness, unfavorable weather and low temperatures, which makes driving difficult. To reach your destination safely, skills and good technical condition of the vehicle are not enough. At this time of year, decent tyres are also of key importance – from the point of view of road safety – emphasizes Piotr Sarnecki, General Director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA).

Opony with a snowflake is essential

Safe travel during this period is primarily winter or branded all-season tyres with winter homologation – even if there is no ice and snow on the roads yet. The official approval mark is a snowflake on the background of a mountain. Unfortunately, many drivers are still convinced that the right moment to change tyres is the first snowfall and icing – and this is a mistake that often has tragic consequences. You should think about changing seasonal tyres when temperatures in the morning fall below 10 degrees Celsius.

When braking on a dry road, at a temperature of 10ºC, the summer tyre has a slight advantage over the winter tyre and a distance of 20-30 cm shorter braking distance. However, in the evening, when the temperature drops drastically, summer tyres will start to be dangerous. Research and independent journalistic tests clearly show that a car equipped with winter tyres on wet roads at temperatures of 2ºC and 6ºC will stop earlier than on summer tyres by 11 and 7 metres respectively. This difference increases with the increase in speed, temperature drop and condition of the surface – explains Piotr Sarnecki.


Remember to check the condition of the tyres before leaving for Christmas – and not only in terms of applicable regulations – in accordance with the regulations on mandatory vehicle equipment, the tread depth should not be less than the wear indicator placed by the manufacturer. If it is not there – the minimum is 1.6 mm. Remember to verify the spare wheel in the same way – because you never know when it will be needed. If you need to replace tyres, then it is worth using a proven service. There are points on the market with the PZPO Tyre Certificate. They can be found on the website.

Pressure under control

The key to the proper operation of tyres and at the same time a guarantee of proper driving is also pressure. Although currently in most new cars tyre pressure sensors are standard equipment – the obligation to regularly check whether the tyre inflation condition is adequate still rests with the drivers. This should be done at least once a month and preferably each time before the further journey. Vehicle manufacturers strictly define what the pressure parameters should be. They can be found, for example, on the side pillar (pillar "B") or on the fuel filler flap. By following the recommendations, we will be able to enjoy the proper handling of our vehicle. You should also remember that we check the tyre pressure cold!

Adjust the pressure to your baggage

Remember to adjust the tyre pressure to the load of the vehicle – especially if you are going on the road. When packing a car for travel, do not forget that accidental placement of luggage can be dangerous not only for overloaded tyres. Unsecured objects – including suitcases, bags, skis, but also animals – acquire kinetic energy equal to several hundred kilograms at the time of an accident. Example? A 9 kg package with sudden braking from a speed of 90 km/h flies through the car with an impact force of up to 450 kg!

Driving and braking distance are one of the elements for which incorrect tyre pressure is responsible. Too low pressure level also translates into excessive fuel consumption, tread and higher tyre noise. A loss of just 0.5 bar extends the braking distance by up to 4 meters and reduces the life of the tyre by 1/3. It is worth remembering – especially now, because as the temperature outside drops, the pressure in the wheels also drops. Taking care of this element of the car, we also care about our own safety, driving comfort and our wallet – sums up Piotr Sarnecki.

More information on the

Why aren't 'all-season' tyres 'multi-season'? What is the difference between a tread pattern and a tread pattern? Why is the minimum tread depth usually not 1.6 mm at all? What is TPMS, Tradewear, Rim protector or Run flat? How do you know asymmetric or directional tyres? These and many other questions are answered by the latest ENGLISH-POLISH LEXICON OF TYRE TERMS PZPO. It can be found on pages and is definitely worth reading. It includes the most commonly used designations and expressions used for tyres in Polish and English. It also clears up inaccuracies and debunks widespread myths or misnaming errors.

Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association