Weather forecasts have come true sooner than expected, and a large part of the territory of Latvia was already covered by snow for a while, deteriorating driving conditions and caught drivers off-guard. Therefore BTA Baltic Insurance Company (BTA) kindly reminds not to postpone having your car tyres changed for the right season tyres to feel safer on the road.
“Roads often tend to be iced-over where cold and moisture meet, particular danger in autumn comes from the so-called black ice, and naturally, the dark season as well makes driving more complicated, as it is more demanding on drivers in terms of concentration,” warns BTA Insurance Claims Handling Department Director Kārlis Liepiņš, adding that there was a rise in the volume of insurance indemnities disbursed last year in November. In the past November, more than a total of 1.7 million euros was disbursed for close to 1400 road traffic accidents.
The Road Traffic Safety Directorate reminds that all cars and buses, the gross mass of which does not exceed 3500 kg, need to be fitted by winter tyres during the period from 1 December through 1 March. Studded tyres are permitted from 1 October through 1 May.
The minimum thread depth for winter tyres of light cars is 4 mm, the tyre’s age as well should be paid attention to. These requirements are defined by the Road Traffic Regulations.
Safe driving is based on a speed that is appropriate for the particular weather and road conditions, as well as the vehicle’s roadworthiness, including the technical condition of its tyres. Tyres should be paid attention to in general, but especially in winter, as the stopping distance becomes considerably longer in this season. For instance, when driving at a speed of 50 km/h, the stopping distance on a dry surface and a wet one differs even three times, advises the Road Traffic Safety Directorate.
It is advisable not to use tyres older than five, six years, as the thread keeps wearing off as you drive, and the tyre rubber loses its properties over time. The manufacturing time of a tyre is indicated on the outer edge of each tyre. For instance, four numbers are visible in a square or a circle – the first two of which are the week of the year, the last two – the year, when the tyre has been produced.
In order to improve vehicle safety on roads, there is a requirement in effect as of 1 December of this year – each axle of cars of gross mass up to 3500 kg and the front steering axle of cars of gross mass over 3500 kg need to be fitted by similar tyres (the size, manufacturer and the thread pattern must be identical). Also, a vehicle may not have studded and studless tyres at the same time.
BTA Baltic Insurance Company is one of the leading insurance companies in the Baltics, offering the broadest range of non-life insurance services in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. BTA employs more than 1,000 employees in the Baltics. The largest shareholder of BTA is Vienna Insurance Group AG with close to 200 years of experience in the insurance business. With about 50 companies in 25 countries and more than 25,000 employees, Vienna Insurance Group is a clear market leader in its CEE markets. Vienna Insurance Group is the best-rated company of ATX, the leading index of Vienna Stock Exchange with a rating of A+ with stable outlook from Standard & Poor’s; its share is also listed on the Prague Stock Exchange.
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BTA Baltic Insurance Company AAS