THE microchip marches on.

The capacity of the microprocessor to transform our lives seems boundless, and the world of motoring continues to be in the forefront of embracing the latest technologies.

Cars that can park themselves? Box ticked. Cars that can drive themselves? Tick that box. Tyres that can ‘talk’ to cars? Yes, tick that one too.

When the Lexus UX Concept took a bow at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, it was fitted with Goodyear Urban Crossover concept tyres which include chip-in-tyre technology.

The system is designed to enhance the performance of the car on cornering, braking and stability thanks to a direct link between an embedded microchip in the tyre and the car’s onboard computer. It’s another brilliant, hi-tech step forward.

Meanwhile, a more humble yet well-established tyre technology is beginning to take root with UK motorists.

We’re talking cold-weather tyres. They use a softer rubber compound, the surface of the tread blocks is covered with little jagged slits, called sipes, and they have deeper tread grooves than conventional tyres. They are good at gripping cold, damp roads, below about 7C.

The key to their improved traction on wet and ice-covered surfaces is the sipes which provide hundreds of extra ‘edges’ to grip the road as the wheel rotates. The tyres are also designed to gather a snowy ‘in-fill’ in the tread grooves and the sipes, to help with grip on loose snow.

Scandinavian drivers use them as a matter of course. In Norway, as with other Scandinavian and Alpine countries, there is legislation or a recommendation to fit winter rubber - hence the use of ‘tyre hotels’ that store your summer wheels in winter and vice-versa, for a fee.

Most manufacturers now offer cold weather tyres in the UK, as figures show that drivers here are six times more likely to have an accident during the winter months. That figure rises further when snow and ice add extra hazards. So a seasonal move to cold weather tyres is becoming increasingly popular,

Emergency services, utility companies, delivery firms and company car fleets are adopting a cold weather tyre policy. A colleague in our office, who lives in a hilly area, has just had her Ford Fiesta fitted with a set of such tyres, and Weekend Wheels will report on their effectiveness.

But whether or not you decide to opt for cold weather tyres, take care on the roads this winter.

•Reduce speed on slippery surfaces and avoid harsh braking and acceleration

•At low speeds use second rather than first gear to avoid spinning the wheels

•To slow the car, change down and use engine braking but if you need to use the brakes apply them gently

•Use a higher gear to avoid spinning the wheels when starting off or climbing hills

•In a diesel car you can often climb slippery slopes or hills by put-ting the car into 2nd gear, engaging the clutch slowly and let the engine run at idling speed. The car should climb slowly without the use of the accelerator.