Bridgestone Looks to European Safety Standards for Its UK Winter Tyre Market


Gary Powell, Bridgestone’s Technical Manager, appears in our fifth Winter Tyre feature, discussing the challenges he thought drivers could face this winter in both the UK and Europe, as well as commenting upon which tyres would be the most suitable for the British winter.

How Europe Ushered in New Standards for the Winter Tyre Market

Starting off on the journey towards this winter, Powell explains that before 2012, all winter tyres were marked with a Mud and Snow (M+S) certification, based on the individual manufacturer’s statement that the tread pattern compound or structure provided suitable grip in wintry conditions. In 2012, the EU introduced the three peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol to help regulate safety across the continent. This change meant manufacturers now have to go through a specialised snow acceleration test to prove the tyre’s mettle in wintery conditions and gain the 3PMSF certification.

This, Bridgestone believes, has helped the market stay on firmer ground when it comes to safety and security during wet, snowy and icy winters. Tyre manufacturers now have a clear reference to provide a certified winter tyre. As echoed by other manufacturers, Bridgestone notes that the UK is fortunate to have relatively mild winters, which explains why the UK, unlike various other European countries, does not have specific legislation for winter tyres.

Powell said, “As winter conditions in the UK are relatively mild, when compared to Nordic countries, in general a dedicated winter tyre is not needed for UK operations.”


Powell argues instead that it’s the UK fleets operating trans-European journeys that will benefit from a suitable winter tyre with heightened traction, especially when driving through “alpine passes of Switzerland and the Nordic countries”.

Bridgestone’s Highway Ecopia, Regional Duravis and U-AP Tyres Have Winter in the UK Covered

As Powell explains, there is not a massive demand for winter tyres in the UK due to the prevailing weather conditions. Bridgestone does not stock specific winter products within the UK due to the lack of demand from fleet operators. The Bridgestone Highway Ecopia 002, Regional Duravis 002 and U-AP002 products, which both have 3PSMF and M+S certifications on all axle positions, more than fulfil the requirements laid out for British roads. With the Duravis R-Drive 002, Steer and Trailer truck tyres all having a high silica cap compound to provide high wet grip and low running temperatures, this is a solid combination for long-haul winter routes. Likewise, the Ecopia H-Drive 002, Steer and Trailer truck tyres are also particularly efficient on the highway, thanks in part to their NanoPro tech compound, which ensures low rolling resistance, important for journeys consisting of long, intensive stretches.

Finally, for buses, Bridgestone’s U-AP 002 tyre has a reinforced sidewall and year-round application. As the tyre boasts a high load capacity and, of course, the crucial M+S and 3PMSF accreditations, it's a solid all-rounder for the segment.

Powell acknowledges that for drivers who are travelling within colder European countries that have long winters, it’s imperative that drivers consider a dedicated winter tyre. However, for the UK, Bridgestone’s standard tyres are more than suitable.

Finally, Powell explains that drivers should continue to perform regular maintenance on their tyres to ensure a tread depth of at least 5-6 millimetres to allow for excellent traction on UK roads throughout Europe.

“This is necessary to ensure good traction in those severe winter conditions,” he said.

Through a combination of legislation and research and development, Bridgestone has ensured that its tyres can deliver for fleet operators in the harshest conditions that winter can offer.

About the author

Adrian, located in Madrid, is joining the editorial team as a correspondent for the Valebridge Publications Ltd Group. Before starting in 2020 for Commercial Tyre Business, Adrian graduated with an English degree before working within marketing and recruitment in the non-profit sector. Recently he changed direction, undertaking a course in Marketing and International Business as a means towards moving into the journalism field, which he counts as his lifelong ambition.


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