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Friction tires are more prone to accidents - Friction tires and studs are used equally in new leased all-electric cars

October's freezing nights and snowfall made many people change their winter tires earlier than usual. The statistics of Drivalia (formerly LeasePlan), which specializes in car leasing and fleet management services, show that over the past five winter seasons, the frequency of accidents for those driving with friction tires has been 4.4 percentage points higher than for those driving with studded tires. Friction tires are chosen for more and more company cars.
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Friction tires and studded tires have their loyal supporters. Generally, tires are chosen according to where you live and driving conditions – friction tires are good on snowy roads, while studs hold better on slippery icy roads. In addition to tire choices, Drivalia's statistics showcase the accident frequency of different types of tires. The statistics of the previous five winter seasons show that the probability of accidents is slightly higher with friction tires.

– In recent years, the frequency of accidents with friction tires has been 4.4 percentage points higher compared to studded tires. According to our statistics for the winter seasons of the last five years, 30 percent of all accidents occurred to cars with friction tires, although only 25.6 percent of passenger cars had friction tires. According to the statistics, the difference is noticeable, studded tires are safer, Drivalia’s Business Controller Anton Holmström says.

Drivalia's accident statistics monitoring covers the winter period when the daily average temperature has been more permanently below zero in southern Finland. Windshield damage, damage caused by another party, and damage caused while the car is stationary, such as vandalism, have been removed from these figures.

A draw among new all-electric cars 

Drivalia's Head of Commercial Development Tiina Märijärvi noticed from the statistics of new leased cars that even though the share of friction tires is increasing all the time, studs surprisingly hold on to their popularity.

– 51 percent of the new fully electric passenger cars delivered this year have studded tires and 49 percent have friction tires. So now it's almost a draw. Although studded tires are also chosen for all-electric cars, the relative proportion of friction tires is higher in them compared to other cars. When all-electric cars are left out of the review, friction tires have been chosen for 31 percent of passenger cars in other leasing contracts that started this year, Märijärvi states.

Friction tires are still almost exclusively found in passenger cars, and vans are not showing any signs of a shift away from studded tires. Only two percent of Drivalia's vans have friction tires.

Friction tires are used to reduce particle emissions 

Drivalia has noticed that friction tires are often chosen for electric cars due to environmental considerations. Frictions cause less particle emissions because they do not break the road surface like studded tires.

– Electric cars are quiet, so many people want quieter friction tires for driving comfort, Märijärvi reflects.

Improving air quality and reducing noise are also the goals of the city of Helsinki's studded tire ban experiment on Lönnrotinkatu. The three-year experiment started a year ago and according to the city's press release, the use of studded tires has decreased not only on Lönnrotinkatu but also in other parts of Helsinki. According to the city's statistics, the share of friction tires has risen to 35 percent from about 30 percent in previous years.

Drivalia's Head of Insurance Mika Väisänen emphasizes that driving according to the weather conditions is more important than the choice of tire type. The choices made by the driver are key. The tires must be in good condition and their air pressure must be checked regularly.

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November 13, 2023
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