Mount Hotham Road Patrol – Tyre Trials

The Mount Hotham Road Patrol is a 24/7 service that’s patrolled the Great Alpine Road during winter months for 17 years, travelling in excess of 221,000km. In the winters of 2015 and 2017 they put our Nokian Hakkapeliitta LT2 tyres to the test – and this is how the tyres rated.

Download the full reports

We encourage you to download the full reports from Glenn Billman, Mt Hotham Snow Patrol.

Download the 2017 Winter Tyre and Studded Winter Tyre Test Report (1.1MB) →

Download the 2015 Winter Tyre Test Report (2.7MB) →

Who are the Mount Hotham Road Patrol?

The duties of the Road Patrol are to render assistance to any motorist that has any type of issue on the Great Alpine Road and to attend to all road incidents and accidents regardless of the time of day or night, regardless of weather conditions and investigate and report the cause and outcome. The type of circumstances the Road Patrol is required to attend to include, but not limited to:

  • pulling stranded vehicles on to the road after slipping off
  • pulling disabled vehicles to safety
  • patrolling the road to render assistance
  • pulling vehicles out of deep snow, and
  • generally keeping the road as safe as possible.

It is evident from information gathered from in excess of 370 serious vehicle incidents during the winter seasons over the past 17 years that the following things contribute to road incidents:

  • driver inattention to the conditions
  • drivers not distinguishing or understanding signage
  • drivers inadequate understanding of their vehicle and its limitations, and
  • drivers overconfidence in their abilities.

But the one common factor in 95% of all vehicle incidents on this section of road, is loss of traction with the road surface due to the icy conditions.

The trial in detail

The winter tyre trial was conducted on The Great Alpine Road between Harrietville and Omeo during the winter snow season of 2015, over a period of ten weeks. The trial and assessments were made from observations, investigations and experimentations and was conducted during normal road patrol operational procedures.

Due to the conditions and traffic flow it was imperative that all issues were conducted quickly, efficiently and safely, with minimal disruption to the public. To achieve this, the trial vehicle was required to travel quickly and safely to the scene of vehicle incidents on snow and ice covered roads. To do this it was essential that the vehicle had the maximum possible traction with the surface of the road.

For further details on the trial conditions, please download the full report, see above.

The verdict on snow tyres

The complete conclusion can be read by downloading the full report (see below), but these are some of the key findings from Glenn Billman:

After trialling the Nokian Hakkapeliitta LT2 tyres in the icy conditions at Mt Hotham I have been greatly impressed on the handling and the gripping capabilities of these particular tyres in situations where traction would normally be lost using a standard All Terrain tyre.

The tyres allow the vehicle to be driven in a more responsive fashion than previously experienced and the control of the vehicle was greatly enhanced.

Cornering, braking and accelerating were all achieved with minimal to no slippage at all. No matter how low the temperature the Nokian tyres remained soft and pliable, allowing the sipe activators to provide maximum traction in the snow and icy conditions. The smallest amount of snow on an icy section of road surface would help provide traction enabling the vehicle to remain under the driver’s control.  

The tyres perform equally as well on dry and wet road surfaces allowing the transition between all to take place without any loss of control. This was particularly noticeable when the road was not covered with ice suitable enough to warrant the fitting of wheel chains but icy enough to be problematic for the driver.