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Driving to the Alps this winter? Check Your Tyres  26/03/2015

Every year thousands of Britons up sticks and travel across the channel before driving down to the Alps to go skiing, snowboarding or to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the snow and mountains. After a worryingly slow start to the season, the snow has finally fallen over the last day or two, and ski resorts across France, Austria and Switzerland have their first proper dusting as the ski season begins in earnest just before Christmas.

Those planning on driving to the various ski resorts this year will have lots of things to think about before going, and one of the most important things is their tyres.

Whilst we have had snow in the last few years in the UK, it is nothing like the conditions they get in the Alps every year, and many drivers do not realise the difference tyres can make to keeping their car gripped to the road in the ice and snow.

The difference between new winter tyres, and worn regular tyres can be the difference between life and death, so it's advisable to make sure you have your tyres checked before you travel.

You should also be aware of the rules governing tyres in foreign countries, with Germany making it the law to drive with winter tyres in ice, slush or snow last year. Fines and points can be applied to your license, and you can also invalidate your insurance by not following the rules of the country you are driving in.

Drivers should make sure they have at least plenty of tread on their tyres, and are strongly advised to fit winter tyres for their trip, as they are engineered in such a way that they make sub zero driving safer.

Winter tyres are made from a different rubber compound, which has a lower freezing level, and helps drivers keep their cars on the road.

They also have a different tread pattern, which is designed to disperse snow and to grip to ice so your stopping distances are significantly reduced. With temperatures potentially not rising above zero for your entire trip, make sure your tyres are in good shape before travelling this year.