Alarming hazards of tyre-related problems on motorways in light of plans to scrap the hard shoulder

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Reports of a family stranded on the M1 after their tyre deflated again raise concerns about the scrapping of hard shoulders on motorways.

Safe tyres save lives - fears over scrapping of motorway hard shoulders

The RAC has already warned that plans to convert 300 miles of hard shoulder on England’s motorways to an extra lane will ‘place the lives of millions of motorists at risk’.

Tyre-related incidents blight UK motorways every day, causing closed lanes, tailbacks, delays, injury and even loss of life – and this is with the hard shoulder in place!

The conversion of the hard shoulder into a ‘live’ lane over the next nine years in a bid to ease congestion will force motorists to instead make use of ‘refuge areas’, which are emergency lay-bys situated every one and a half miles. However, these are nearly three times farther apart than motorists believe is safe and the RAC claims that more than half of drivers do not know where to go if they break down on new stretches of ‘smart’ motorways.

The changes bring into sharp focus the need for motorists to ensure their tyres are in a safe and legal condition, with at least the minimum tread depth of 1.6mm to help reduce the risk of suffering a tyre-related breakdown on a motorway.

However, it is not just punctures, such as the one suffered by the family in Nottinghamshire who were stranded on the M1, that can lead to tyre-related problems, particularly on motorways. Correct tyre pressure also plays an important role.

When a tyre is under-inflated, heat builds up inside it and can eventually lead to a sudden tyre deflation. Tyre failure may cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, which is particularly dangerous on motorway carriageways.

Tyre blow-outs also put other motorists at risk because debris is often left on the carriageways.

Motorists who discover they need new tyres due to worn treads or damage, such as nails embedded in the rubber, do not have to risk driving on them to get to a garage to have the tyre replaced or repaired. etyres offer a mobile service, which means customers can have their new tyres fitted or a puncture repair carried out at their home or work.

Denna Bowman, Head Office

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