Dec 312018

Winter tyres - pros and consWhile there can be dangerous road conditions year-round, winter months bring their own set of hazards including rain, snow, wet leaves and black ice. For this reason, many people opt to swap out their ‘normal’ tyres with winter tyres. But, with harsh winters being unusual in some parts of the UK, some drivers are left scratching their heads, wondering if they should also make the switch.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of winter tyres so that you can make the best possible decision this winter.

What Are Winter Tyres?

There are two main differences between winter tyres and normal tyres.

First, winter tyres are designed to have better traction and grip in cold conditions. In terms of their appearance, this means that winter tyres will have a more distinct tread pattern, with wider grooves and more narrow slits at the edges of the tread area. If you’re struggling to identify a winter tyre, look for a snowflake or mountain symbol by the sidewall.

Second, winter tyres are made with a different kind of rubber than standard tyres. Why? Because the material on standard tyres stiffens as temperatures drop, reducing grip when it’s below seven degrees. The material used for winter tyres stays soft, enabling a strong grip despite freezing temperatures.

The Pros of Winter Tyres

The most noteable (and obvious) pro of having winter tyres is that they outperform standard tyres when temperatures drop and road conditions worsen. You’ll notice a difference, especially when braking or turning, thanks to the improved grip and traction.

Stopping distances can be reduced by upwards of 5 metres with winter tyres which supports safer driving for you and everyone else on the road. With that being said, by fitting winter tyres, you’re helping prevent accidents and are upholding your duty of care as a motorist.

If you live in a part of the country that experiences harsh winters, winter tyres won’t just prevent accidents, they’ll enable you to get where you’re going. Imagine being stuck – unable to get to work or take your children to school – because your tyres couldn’t perform.

The Cons of Winter Tyres

While the benefits in terms of safety and mobility are undeniable, there are a few drawbacks of winter tyres.

The most frequently cited con is, of course, the cost. On average, they’re slightly more expensive than standard tyres, but this is dependent on your car and wheel size. It’s also worth mentioning here that this cost could be offset by the fact that winter tyres increase the lifespan of your standard tyres, as they’ll be taken off the road from December-March.

If you don’t mind the cost or see the value in winter tyres, the next obstacle to overcome is storage. Without a garage or garden shed, you’ll likely have to pay for storage 12 months a year, alternating tyres depending on the weather.

Finally, winter tyres are – as the name suggests – season specific. If you were to keep the tyres on year-round, the rubber will wear down quickly and performance will drop off, making them no better than standard tyres when you need them most.

Should I Buy Winter Tyres?

It really is a personal choice. For those living in rural or remote areas or those in areas with especially harsh winters, winter tyres are a must. For everyone else, there are alternatives like snow socks and snow chains that might meet your needs at a lower cost.

In any case, make sure you stay safe this winter! Check out our top winter car maintenance tips here.

Even after taking all these tips into consideration however, you never know when you might unexpectedly break down, and that’s the last thing you want on a cold winters day! See how Warranty Direct can help you by getting a quote today!

Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.



May 312018

Over half of UK roads are classified as ‘rural’ and are also statistically among the most hazardous, with 68% of fatalities occurring on them every year.

Quiet rural roads often lure drivers into a false sense of security, when they need to be at their most alert. To keep you – and others – safe, Warranty Direct has put together its top tips for rural driving.


Watch your speed

Many drivers assume they can drive quicker on rural roads because they’re typically quiet. However, obscured entrances, high trees and hedges, narrow bends and blind corners will restrict your view so it’s essential to keep your speed down to avoid potential hazards. Take notice of all the signs on the road to give you advance warnings, so you can adjust your speed accordingly.

At 60mph, a driver’s stopping distance is 73 metres and if a hazard suddenly appears, you may not be able to stop in time. Speed limits shouldn’t be seen as a target, so keep assessing whether you’re at the right speed for the conditions and you feel in control of the vehicle.

Be patient

Tractors, combines and other large agricultural vehicles are a common sight on country roads. While you may find getting stuck behind one of them annoying, you need to be patient as they’ve as much right to be on the road as you do.

If you do find yourself behind one, keep a safe distance as these types of vehicles often have limited visibility. If you attempt to overtake, make sure you’ve plenty of time and space to make the manoeuvre safely. Look for a long straight stretch and start to overtake from further behind than you would with a normal car, to give the driver more opportunity to see you.

Beware: animals crossing

Whether it’s a herd of cows being moved from one field to another or a rabbit just wandering across the road, you need to be more alert for wildlife during rural driving. Watch out for wild animal warning signs, which give you an indication of areas more prone to animals.

While it’s normally an instinctual movement, it’s important you don’t swerve to avoid small wildlife. This can be very dangerous for you, your passengers and the person who might be coming towards you on the other side of the road.

Instead, try to brake as soon as possible to minimise impact and beep your horn while slowing. Often this will startle wildlife into running out of your path.

However, larger animals like cattle, horses, and dogs are considered big enough to justify an emergency stop, because their size means, if hit at speed, they could cause a lot of damage to vehicles or injuries to passengers. For example; accidents involving deer are estimated to cost £17 million in vehicle damage every year.

If you are unlucky enough to hit a larger animal, you must stop by law and report the accident to the police immediately.

Think of others

Many people will be out on the country roads enjoying the scenery and leisure activities, so expect to see plenty of cyclists and horse riders. If you come across a horse and rider, it’s essential you slow down and pass with plenty of room to avoid spooking the horse. A scared horse can be a danger to itself and to its rider.

You should approach passing cyclists in the same way you would another vehicle. Make sure you wait for a straight stretch of road and give them as much room as possible. The Highway Code actually encourages cyclists to stay in the middle of the road for safety, so be patient and wait until it’s completely safe for you to pass.

You may also encounter walkers, so always corner slowly as there could be a pedestrian on the other side.

Apr 132018

Warranty Direct to sponsor the 2018 FirstCar Awards

We are happy to announce Warranty Direct is the lead sponsor of the 2018 FirstCar Awards. The event will be held at the Royal Automobile Club in London on 25th April 2018 and we are really looking forward to celebrate the industry and its worthy winners.

The FirstCar Awards, in association with Warranty Direct, recognises and rewards companies leading the way for young drivers. A FirstCar award will help guide young drivers when making key purchasing decisions and give added credibility to the winning manufacturers.

These awards will reward the best in class across a range of different categories – all specifically relevant for young drivers. Along with being the main sponsor, Warranty Direct will also sponsor the ‘Used Car of the Year’ and ‘Car of the Year’ awards.

Contenders for the Warranty Direct Sponsored Used Car of Year Award are:

  • Citroën C1
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Kia Picanto
  • Volkswagen Polo

Shortlisted for the Car of Year Award are:

  • Ford Fiesta,
  • Nissan Micra
  • VW Up

Cars from both categories will be assessed for their reliability and safety using Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index and Euro NCAP criteria. The judges will also be looking at a variety of other key features to contribute to overall scores, including:

  • Value for money and running costs, such as fuel economy and insurance
  • Both new and used cars should be easy to drive, dependable and safe
  • Affordability is key for both purchasing and throughout the ownership of the car
  • The standard fitment of important safety features

Speaking about the upcoming awards, our CEO, Simon Ackers said:

 “With First Car offering advice, tips and expert opinions to help their audience be better informed and safer motorists, we are proud to work with a partner whose values mirror our own.

“We are really looking forward to celebrating those in the industry who are leading the way, promoting safe driving and enabling young drivers to make knowledgeable decisions and become confident on the roads.”

Other categories at the awards will include: Driving Instructor of the Year, Regional Driving School of the Year, National Driving School of the Year, Driving Instructor Car of the Year, Best Safety Technology and Safe Car of the Year.

One thing’s for sure, there is always a real sense of team spirit and support at these awards, which not only honour the accomplishments of driving schools and their instructors, but also the motor industry’s ability to revive and improve their safety products every year.

Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075.