Regular tyre checks could reduce thousands of casualties

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Every year, tyre-related incidents result in thousands of casualties and cost the economy tens of millions of pounds – motorists could help dramatically reduce the number of incidents and costs by carrying out regular monthly safety checks

British motorists are being urged by TyreSafe to carry out monthly checks to ensure their tyres are inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressures, that they have sufficient tread depth and are in roadworthy condition.

The facts

  • The total number of casualties resulting from tyre-related incidents over the last five reported years is 5,677 of which 989 people were killed or seriously injured, annually averaging 1,135 and 198 respectively
  • Where casualties arise from an accident caused by a vehicle defect, tyres are the single largest contributory factor over the last five reported years, accounting for 36% of the total
  • The estimated cost of tyre-related incidents to the economy over the last five reported years is £416 million, averaging £83.2 million annually
  • Annually, 2.2 million cars fail the MOT due to tyre-related defects
  • Over the past three years there have been more than 15,000 convictions for tyre-related offences
  • TyreSafe’s survey in partnership with Highways England revealed potentially up to 10 million, or more than one-in-four cars and vans on Britain’s roads, were driven with an illegal and dangerous tyre in 2015

Highways England attended over 38,000 tyre-related callouts on motorways and major ‘A’ road networks alone in 2015. The vast majority of these incidents resulted in the vehicles coming to a halt on the hard shoulder leaving them in a vulnerable and potentially dangerous situation.

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, said: “Vehicles have become progressively more reliable over the years so fewer of us need to carry out the weekly maintenance we once did on components like oil and water, but tyres are still in direct contact with the road and all the potential physical objects on them. Even new tyres lose pressure over time and can become damaged by potholes or kerbing."

How to Check

TyreSafe recommends drivers check their tyres’ air pressure, condition and tread depth at least once a month and before long journeys. The simple maintenance routine can be carried out in just a minute or two.

A tyre’s air pressure influences the way a vehicle handles and how much fuel it uses. If it is not inflated to the manufacturer's recommended inflation level, the vehicle will not brake and steer as it should, there is an increased risk of a sudden deflation and the fuel consumption will rise.

The correct pressures are often to be found in the door shut or filler cap, but it will certainly be in the manual. 

While you’re checking pressures, it’s a good opportunity to have a look at the tyre condition. Tyres are never manufactured with lumps, bumps or objects sticking in them, so if you see any of these, you’ll need to have the tyre inspected. If objects like stones are wedged in the tread, remove them if you can.

Admiral’s Claims Engineers team says to check there is no uneven wear and that the tread is above 1.6mm; to do this you can use a 20p coin!

Simply place a 20p coin into the main grooves of your tyre. If the outer edge of the 20p coin is obscured when inserted, your tread is above the legal limit.

If the outer edge is visible, your tyres could be under the legal limit and unsafe for use.

As well as keeping you safe and legal on the roads, a quick tyre check could save you money when it comes to MOT time. For more tips on the small jobs you can do at home check out our DIY jobs to help your car pass its MOT guide.

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