Driving in Australia isn’t for the faint-hearted. Hook turns in Melbourne, aggressive kangaroos in the Northern Territory, tropical heat in Far North Queensland, Lexus drivers who are allergic to indicating in Sydney…
But for the most part, driving in the Land Down Under is a far more straightforward deal than it is in many other countries. Indeed, there’s one struggle that most drivers in Europe are dealing with right now that would be completely alien to most Aussies – changing over from winter to summer tyres.
Winter (or snow) tyres typically have a much more aggressive tread pattern than normal (or summer) tyres, and occasionally even have metal or ceramic studs protruding from their treads. They’re noisier and less fuel-efficient than normal tyres, but provide much-needed traction in snowy or slushy conditions.
Indeed, some European countries actually mandate winter tires between specific dates or when roads are snowy or icy, like Austria, Finland, Germany and Russia. Right now, many Europeans are having to book in with their mechanics or tyre shops to swap over their tyres.
Actually, lots of tyre shops in Europe will store customers’ winter/summer tyres and rims during alternate seasons. But it’s still a big hassle, as well as a substantial cost that Australian drivers mostly don’t have to worry about.
Even drivers in snowy areas of Australia will mostly just throw on snow chains over normal tyres (something many Euros would consider bizarre) if weather gets particularly snowy. You’d be hard-pressed to even find winter tyres Down Under.
Of course, Europe’s not the only part of the world where swapping from summer to winter tyres (and vice versa) is a part of motoring.
It’s also common practice in most of North America, for example – but with the weather still looking pretty frosty in most of Canada and much of the United States, many drivers will still be rolling around on winter tyres for a few more weeks or months yet.