20p Could Save Your Life, says Tyresafe

Fri, 02 Oct 2009

Dozens of lives could be saved and hundreds of accidents avoided in the UK each year for just 20p according to TyreSafe as it launches October's Tyre Safety Month. Throughout the month hundreds of garages across the country will be encouraging motorists to check the depth of their tyre tread by using a 20p coin, to ensure they stay safe and legal.

"As we move into the wettest months of the year, adequate tyre tread depth is a critical element of road safety," explains Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. "There are still far too many accidents and fatalities occurring every day which could have been avoided if the driver had paid more attention to the condition of their tyres. The 'lifesaver in your pocket' campaign gives drivers an incredibly easy and simple way to check their tread depth which will help them stay safe and on the right side of the law."

During 2007, 46 motorists died on the UK's roads and during 2008, 34 motorists died where an illegal, defective or under-inflated tyre was definitely established as a contributory factor in the crash. Obviously where vehicles and tyres are completely destroyed it is impossible to establish how many more died of tyre defects, the most numerous of which are tyre inner shoulders worn aweay by speed cushions. In 2008, at least 900 other motorists were also injured in accidents where tyre defects played a part.

Independent research commissioned by TyreSafe found that more than half of all drivers could not correctly identify the legal tread depth and a startling one in five drivers had never checked their tread depth. The AA reported that in 2008 nearly one in ten of every breakdown it attends, is for a tyre related call out.

Current UK law states that tyre tread on cars must be at a minimum of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tread, around its entire circumference. Drivers found in breach of this law face a fine of up to £2500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.

Tyresafe's '20p Could Save Your Life' campaign encourages drivers to insert a 20p coin into the main grooves of the tyre to check the tread depth. If the outer band of the coin is visible when inserted, then the tyre may not have sufficient depth and should be checked by a qualified specialist. They should also check carefully for tyre inner shoulder wear, which is difficult to see because it is under the car.

Adequate tread depth is critical to safe motoring. The tread grooves are carefully designed to remove water from the road surface and keep the tyre in contact with the road. If the tread grooves are not deep enough, water cannot be moved resulting in a loss of grip and traction which can lead to longer stopping distances, reduced handling and an increased likelihood of aquaplaning. More than a quarter of drivers surveyed by TyreSafe were unaware that they were more likely to suffer from aquaplaning with low tread and one in five drivers were unaware that they would take longer to stop in the wet or would not be able to go round corners as well.

"The level of ignorance about tread depth is quite worrying," adds Jackson. "Tyres are the only part of the vehicle in contact with the road surface so it is essential that they are in a condition that allows them to perform properly. If people do not look after them properly, not only do they risk incurring fines and penalty points, but they also greatly increase their likelihood of being involved in a serious accident."

For further information about tyre safety or details of how to use the lifesaver in your pocket, visit the TyreSafe website at www.tyresafe.org.

Top Tips for checking tyre tread depths

1. Ideally, tyre tread depth should be checked at least once a month at the same time that you check your tyre pressure.
2. If you do not have a calibrated tread depth gauge a 20p coin provides a useful guide.
3. Insert the 20p coin into the main tyre grooves at several places around the circumference of the tyre and across its width.
4. If the outer band of the 20p coin is visible whenever you check the tread, your tread depth may be illegal and you should have them checked by a qualified tyre specialist.
5. When checking your tread depth, give the rest of the tyres a visual inspection for any cuts or bulges and remove any stones or objects embedded in the tread.

6. Pay particular attention to the inner shoulders of the front tyres by turning the steering to full lock and inspecting vcisually. Any serious wear there could lead to a blowout at any time.


Add a comment


Value my car

Save £75 on Warranty using code HJ75

with MotorEasy

Get a warranty quote

Save 12% on GAP Insurance

Use HJ21 to save on an ALA policy

See offer