By Denna Bowman
Families can reduce their chances of being stranded by the roadside or being involved in a serious accident over the Christmas holiday period by making sure their car tyres are correctly inflated before they set off, according to a safety group.
Many vehicles will even need to have their tyres inflated to a higher pressure than normal to stay safe, because of the increased weight from extra passengers, luggage and presents being driven to friends and relatives, TyreSafe warned.
Drivers who fail to make these checks and adjustments significantly increase their likelihood of experiencing a dangerous tyre blowout.
Stuart Jackson, the chairman of TyreSafe, explained: “During the holiday period too many motorists suffer misery from tyre related breakdowns because they haven’t made adequate checks before setting off.
“Very often the cars are heavily loaded with extra passengers, luggage and presents and then head off on long, high-speed, motorway journeys. It’s essential when carrying extra weight that tyre pressures are checked and adjusted in line with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
“Motorists who fail to make these adjustments are much more likely to spend some of their Christmas break stranded at the roadside because of a tyre failure”.
Many vehicle manufacturers specify that tyre pressures should be increased when the car is fully laden with passengers and luggage.
If the pressures are not adjusted accordingly and the tyres run under-inflated, excessive heats builds up inside the tyre. This significantly increases the risk of a tyre blowout which can have catastrophic effects, particularly at high speeds on motorways and main roads.
In 2008, 34 motorists died on the UK’s roads as a result of an accident where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor.