By Denna Bowman
As the main summer holiday season approaches, motorists are being urged to carry out essential checks on their vehicle’s tyres before setting off to ensure their safe arrival.
As well as inspecting the condition of tyres and making sure they have adequate tread depth, drivers should ensure that tyres are properly inflated, taking account of any additional passengers or loads being carried, according to TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation.
Without taking these essential precautions, drivers face an increased risk of being stranded by the roadside or involved in an accident as a result of a tyre related issue.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, said: “If the warm weather we’ve recently experienced continues throughout the summer, we may see many more tyre related incidents on our roads unless drivers check their tyres before setting off on holiday.
“Heat is an important factor in a tyre’s ability to perform properly and keep occupants safe. Checking tyre pressures only takes a few minutes and will make a significant contribution to controlling the tyre’s temperature.”
When tyres are under-inflated or overloaded they are much more likely to suffer from a blowout, particularly when travelling at high speeds for long periods. In this state, extra heat builds up within the tyre causing its various internal components to separate and eventually fail in spectacular fashion. Not only do blowouts cause a problem for the driver who has to try to control the vehicle, but other road users are also put at risk from any tyre debris left in the carriageway.
When checking tyre pressures, drivers should ensure they are inflated to the correct levels for the load being carried. Many vehicles require higher tyre pressures when carrying extra passengers or heavy items such as suitcases, bikes or roof boxes. Details of correct tyre pressures can be found either in the driver’s handbook, inside the fuel filler cap, or on a plate located on the driver’s door sill.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the British weather, drivers should also check that their tyres have adequate tread depth which is essential for maintaining good grip in the wet. Last year, many areas of the UK received twice their average August monthly rainfall.
Jackson added: “Tyres have to cope with an extreme range of conditions so drivers should regularly inspect them to make sure they are in a good condition.
“Tread, pressure and condition checks only take a few minutes to carry out and ideally should be done at least once a month or before a long journey such as going on holiday.”
Current UK law states that car tyres must have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread across the central three quarters of the tyre tread, around its entire circumference. Drivers whose tyres do not comply with these regulations greatly increase their chances of being involved in an accident, but also risk the face of three penalty points and a fine of £2,500 for each illegal tyre.