By Denna Bowman
Christmas is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year on the roads and with less than a week to go before the big day, motorists are being reminded about the importance of checking their tyres.
Tyres should be examined for signs of damage, minimum tread depth and to ensure they are correctly inflated to account for additional loads, such as extra passengers, luggage and gifts.
TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation, points out that snow, ice, and rain-soaked roads can be extremely hazardous, particularly if tyres are left unchecked.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, warned: “Attention is turning towards Christmas and all the excitement that brings but it doesn’t mean we should forget what is really important in life – protecting the ones we love.
“Just a few simple tyre checks can make all the difference to staying safe on our roads. This is especially critical when driving in winter, including cold and damp conditions which often seem innocuous yet can be particularly perilous.”
Among the key inspections drivers are being encouraged to carry out are checking for correct air pressure, adequate tread depth and visually inspecting the overall state of the tyres. Correct air pressure is particularly crucial for safe driving as tyres that are underinflated can affect handling and grip, potentially altering the car’s behaviour on the road.
Another thing to look out for at this time of year is the effect of additional loads, be it presents or passengers. TyreSafe reminds motorists to make sure tyre pressures are correctly adjusted for the fully laden vehicle state. Details of the correct pressures can be found in the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook, inside the fuel filler cap or on the driver’s door sill.
Just as critical, says the safety organisation, is ensuring tyres have adequate tread depth to cope with any wet conditions. Tyres without enough tread face an increased risk of aquaplaning, less grip and longer stopping distances as the tyre’s ability to grip the road surface is reduced. Tread depth can be checked by using a 20p coin. Drivers simply need to insert the coin into the main grooves of the tyre. If the outer band of the 20p is visible when inserted, then the tyre may not have sufficient depth and should be checked by a qualified specialist.
A visual inspection of the tyre is also needed to check its overall condition. Any objects which have become embedded in the tread should be removed. If any cuts, lumps or bulges are found, it could lead to a blow-out at high speed or a slow puncture.
Jackson added: “If you’re driving home for Christmas, then check your tyres beforehand to reduce the risk of being in a tyre related accident.”
etyres offer a convenient service which means customers have their tyres fitted at their home or work at a time of their choice. Its prices are highly competitive and its branches around the UK also supply and fit batteries and carry out puncture repairs.