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Safe on the road in winter with truck, coach and bus
14-11-2011 08:58:50 PM
Trucks with winter tires on all axles have a shorter braking distance
Additional amount of natural rubber protects tires from hardening
Closed rib tread structure delivers safety and a comfortable ride to coach and bus passengers
It’s minus 20 degrees “snow chaos” and “traffic chaos” have been hitting the headlines for weeks: after two extremely cold and long winters, we are in store for icy temperatures and a lot of snow this year too, according to meteorologists’ long-term speculations. It may well be that the weather can only be exactly predicted a few days in advance but truck, coach and bus operators who want to be on the safe side are already equipping their vehicles with good “winter boots” as a precautionary measure. Last year’s severe frost has shown that adequate winter tires are an extremely important topic not only in alpine regions or the far north of Europe.
In order to ensure that trucks, coaches and buses are absolutely safe on the road even in winter conditions, their tires must meet specific requirements. “Vehicles equipped with regular tires only prove- to a limited extend - to be suitable for winter driving at temperatures around freezing point, and only if the style of driving is adjusted accordingly,” warns Bernd Korte, chief of commercial vehicle tire development at Continental. “Our SCANDINAVIA tire line has been specially engineered to provide the winter tire properties needed by commercial vehicles.”
What many do not know is that the requirements for truck tires differ entirely depending on whether they are fitted to the steering, drive or trailing axle. Drive-axle tires are responsible for traction but they also suffer the most wear during braking. In order to optimally meet the specific requirements of commercial vehicles, Continental provides winter tires for every axle position on a truck.
No worries about travelling by coach or bus in winter
In the development of coach and bus tires, the travel industry’s demands were specifically targeted. To ensure that coach and bus travellers can experience enjoyable trips in winter too, not only do the tires have to be safe, they must also guarantee a high degree of ride comfort at the same time. Continental has designed the HSW2 Coach winter tire for this very purpose. This special winter tire for coaches and buses can be used on all axles. The tread’s closed rib structure is ultra-smooth-running and is optimized in terms of rolling noise – to give passengers a comfortable and peaceful trip.
“Commercial vehicle tires contain in general a high proportion of natural rubber,” says Bernd Korte, “ as this ensures an extremely high degree of elasticity regardless of temperature.” This is an essential property for commercial vehicle tires because they are exposed to extremely high loads. A pure natural-rubber compound is therefore used for winter tires as this only hardens at temperatures below -60°C. The tire’s softer compound also increases its adhesion on the road. “Combined with the tread, this overall higher grip can be clearly observed even from temperatures of under seven degrees,” explains tire expert
In addition to the material compound, the carcass construction is also a decisive factor. Continental has optimized the treads for its SCANDINAVIA range: a large number of sipes in the individual offset tread blocks, ensures a particularly large number of gripping edges, making the tread bite extremely well into compacted snow and ice. Drive and braking forces are optimally transmitted to the road. Safe starting, steering and braking are guaranteed even in the cold season because winter tires provide up to 20 percent more traction on typical winter roads than standard tires.
Winter tires shorten the braking distance
In individual European countries, different legal regulations apply in terms of equipping commercial vehicles with tires for winter driving conditions. “Safety should, however, always be of the highest importance simply in one’s own interests,” underlines Bernd Korte. “Trucks that jack-knife on icy motorways, or coaches that become stuck in snow, pose a risk to human life and create high costs for vehicle operators. On top of that, the economy suffers greatly due to waiting passengers or cargo, and the image of the transportation industry is damaged.
The use of specially engineered winter tires guarantees the best traction and braking performance on winter roads. Numerous trials on test roads have clearly proven that the braking distance of a truck trailer equipped allround with winter tires is considerably shorter (see infographic). This means that the active and passive safety of all road users stands to benefit from the use of proper winter tires on commercial vehicles.