UK drivers not prepared for heavy winter rainfalls

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An alarming majority of UK drivers are potentially unprepared for any heavy rainfall this winter and at an increased risk of being involved in an accident, according to a new survey carried by TyreSafe.

Only 27 percent of motorists claimed that they had checked their tyre tread depth in the last month, the maximum period recommended between checks, and a staggering one in five admitted that they had never checked them.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, which is currently leading the annual Tyre Safety Month campaign, commented: “Without adequate tyre tread depth, your car may be unable to cope properly in wet conditions, causing problems such as longer stopping distances, loss of grip and even an increased risk of aquaplaning.

“Last winter was the wettest ever on record and it’s essential that motorists check their tread depth at least once a month to ensure they can cope with any similar weather which we may experience again this year.”

Current UK law requires car tyres to have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three quarters of the entire circumference of the tyre. However, more than a quarter of those questioned thought the legal limit was less than this. Underlining the level of ignorance regarding tyre safety laws, more than 80 per cent respondents were unaware that the maximum possible fine for driving on an illegal tyre with insufficient tread depth is £2,500.

Similarly, 80 percent admitted they were aware of the phenomenon of aquaplaning, a dangerous situation caused by lack of tread depth on wet roads, where the car’s tyres lose complete contact with the road surface, leaving the driver without any control. However, more than half of drivers stated that they would react in a manner that would either make matters worse or have no effect on an aquaplaning car, such as pressing the brake to slow down.

Motorists can minimise the risk of aquaplaning by regularly checking their tyre tread depth. Click here to watch a short video featuring Vicki Butler Henderson which demonstrates how to check tyre tread depth.

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