The Minister of Infrastructure was misled

There are many conclusive studies about the impact of tyres with winter homologation on road safety
Polish Tyre Industry Association is concerned about the fact that the officials dealing with infrastructure – who prepared a response to the Parliamentary question for the Minister of Infrastructure – do not know the comprehensive library of reliable research on safety provided by tyres with winter homologation (winter and all-season) in autumn and winter conditions. Apparently, the minister was misled that there were no conclusive studies results about the behaviour of winter and all-season tyres in various weather conditions.

– From the first day of its existence, the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA) makes people aware of the importance of tyres for road safety. The most serious problem that PTIA is fighting with are myths and unjustified beliefs about tyres. The response of the Minister of Infrastructure to the Parliamentary question proves that the intense struggle to improve Poles' awareness in the area of ​​road safety must continue – said Piotr Sarnecki, general director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association.

The European Commission, in the study on some safety-related aspects of tyre use[1], points out that in 27 European countries – in which a requirement for winter homologation was introduced (winter and all-season tyres) – a 46% reduction in the probability of a road accident in winter conditions occurred – when compared to driving on summer tyres under the same conditions. The same study proves that introducing a requirement of driving on tyres with winter homologation reduces fatal crashes count by 3 percent. This is an average value – some countries have reported a drop in the number of accidents by 20 percent.

Road safety experts also recommend seasonal tyre changes. In our climate – with hot summer and cold winter – this is one of the guarantees of safe driving. Independent and reliable German studies clearly show that the risk of the road crashes and collisions is 6 times higher in the winter than in the summer[2]. Also, the braking distance of the vehicle on a wet surface with winter tyres is 20% shorter than with summer tyres[3]. These couple missing metres are very often decide about the number of the victims in road accidents.

These results are also confirmed in the research of scientists from the Kielce University of Technology[4] – on a snow-covered surface at the speed of only 20 km/h, the difference in braking distance between summer and winter tyres was 16 meters. This research was conducted with the ABS system, which prevents the wheels from blocking, as well as without it.

Moreover, research conducted by the Poznan University of Technology in March 2014[5] on two types of summer and winter tyres (2 sets of premium class and 2 sets of budget class tyres) shows that also on a dry surface, at a temperature varying between + 7.5°C and 10°C – comparing the most similar initial braking speeds – winter and summer tyres have very similar parameters. At the same speed, they are showing a difference in braking distance of only 0,5-1,5 meters.

Research funded by the National Science Centre in 2012 shows that the hardness of the tread rubber of the summer tyre clearly increases during the winter – which may cause worse adhesion of the tyre to the road and reduction of the ability to transmit the driving torque to the road surface[6].

This is also confirmed by tests carried out by journalists, such as the of the British Auto Express and the Royal Automobile Club (RAC), conducted at a positive temperature of 5.9°C on a wet road. They indicated an advantage of winter tyres in such conditions – the braking distance of winter tyres was 35.5 m, while the braking distance for summer tyres of the premium segment was over 42 meters[7].

In turn, the Belgian organization Pneuband indicates that when driving on a wet road at 90 km/h at 2ºC, the braking distance on winter tyres is 11 meters shorter than on summer tyres – it is more than two lengths of a premium class car.

Importantly, all of the above and cited researches were conducted in real conditions with cars equipped with ABS and older models, without this system.

Research and tests prove how wide is the range of weather conditions and temperatures where winter and all-season tyres increase road safety. For a statistical driver they will be a much more universal and safer choice during this period than driving on summer tyres and waiting for the first snow.

Poland is the only country in the European Union with this kind of climate, where the regulations do assume the requirement of driving on winter or all-season tyres in the autumn-winter conditions. According to the Moto Data research from 2017 and 2018, 78% of Polish drivers want to introduce a requirement to ride on winter or all-season tyres in the winter months of the year. Legislator’s lack of action in this area mean that Poland is not only unable to catch up with Europe in terms of road safety, but also that Europe is constantly running away from us underlines Piotr Sarnecki, general director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association. Every year, for over several decades, over 3,000 people are killed on roads. It is as many as a number of people that work in a large factory. Safety on roads, on which millions of us are walking on a daily basis is just as important as taxes, pensions or children's education – adds Sarnecki.

Recordings from the Auto Express and RAC tests on winter tyres[8] show how tyres adequate to the temperature, humidity and slipperiness help the driver to control the vehicle and confirm the difference between winter and summer tyres, not only on icy or snowy, but also on wet roads in cold autumn temperatures:

All data above were presented many times to the representatives of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Members of the parliament. They are generally available after ISBN signatures. Their query is also the latest report of the Polish Tyre Industry Association from November 2018 "The impact of tyres on road safety", which was also passed to the government and parliamentarians.

Let's discuss, analyse and make a decision, but let’s not mislead society and ministers with information about the lack of reliable and conclusive research results on improving safety thanks to the use of winter and all-season tyres in autumn and winter – said Piotr Sarnecki.






[1] European Commission, Study on some safety-related aspects of tyre use,

[2] ADAC, Pro-winterreifen

[3] Cortina. A dynamic simulation test when temperature at 5°C

[4] R. Jurecki, E. Szumska, D. Mlodzińska „The comparison of the braking performance of summer and winter tyres on a snowy surface”, Logistics 4/2015 – Attachment 2

[5] F. Markiewicz, KJ. Waluś, J. Polasik - "Experimental study on kinematic features of vehicle movement using winter and summer tyres" - Logistics 5/2014 - Attachment 3

[6] K. Waluś – „Experimental tests of the stiffness of summer car tyres at real ambient temperatures” – Mechanic 12/2013 – Attachment 4

[7]Auto Express and RAC research – publ. 17/11/2011

[8]Winter Tyres v Summer Tyres: the Truth! - Auto Express,

Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association