A RECENT survey, compiled by TyreSafe, of over 25,000 tyres as they were being replaced at Welsh tyre outlets, showed that 29.1% were illegal.
October has been Tyre Safety Month, and Road Safety Wales Partners have been highlighting the importance of tyres to safer motoring through social media. It has been disappointing to note that two recent police campaigns highlighted problems with tyres on a number of vehicles. Drivers who fail to comply with the regulations face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre. Leaving your tyre checks until the MOT is due could be an expensive decision.
Motorists can help reduce the risks to themselves and other road users by carrying out tyre checks every month and before long journeys. The air pressure in each tyre should follow the vehicle manu facturer’s recommended settings, and tread depth should be well over the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm, roughly the same as the rim of a 20p piece. If a 20p piece is inserted into the tread and the rim is visible, the tyre may be illegal. However, professional advice is to replace your tyres ideally as soon as they reach 3mm. While checking tread depth, also look out for any lumps, bumps, signs of ageing or scuffing on the tyre which may indicate internal damage.
As the winter weather begins to take a hold on the country, adequate tread depth is essential for good grip, especially on wet roads where the tread pattern helps to remove water from between the tyre and the road surface. Drivers with insufficient tread depth face longer stopping distances, reduced grip and an increased risk of aquaplaning.
Road Safety Wales has recently lent its support to TyreSafe, the UK’s charity dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of correct tyre maintenance and the dangers of defective and illegal tyres. All Partners in Road Safety Wales are committed to reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads of Wales, and are pleased to be working with TyreSafe to raise awareness of the preventative steps road users can take to stay safe.
Susan Storch, Chair of Road Safety Wales, said: “Every day on Welsh roads, people are taking chances with their lives by driving defective vehicles. During the winter period, it is more important than ever that vehicles are roadworthy, legal and safe. Don’t forget that your tyres are the only parts of the vehicle which are in contact with the road, and safety in acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all depend on a relatively small area of road contact. Correct tyre maintenance and care is critical for your safety, no matter what type of vehicle you are driving.”
Stuart Jackson, Chairman of TyreSafe, said: “TyreSafe’s tread depth survey highlighted the poor attitude towards tyre safety among Britain’s motorists, and Wales actually recorded worse results than the national average. While the need to carry out many of the maintenance checks has decreased as vehicles have become more reliable, tyres are in direct contact with the road and can be damaged, lose pressure or wear between service intervals or MOTs. The only way to be sure your tyres are roadworthy is to check them at least once a month and before long journeys. That’s why this year’s Tyre Safety Month message of ‘Don’t chance it, check it’ is relevant all year round.”