Don’t delay the seasonal festivities – check your tyres before you travel


Whether you’re heading to the airport to head off on vacation or negotiating a tight schedule of visits to family and friends, chances are your car is going to be weighed down with more luggage, passengers and gifts than usual over the Festive Season. Nobody ‘plans’ to have a breakdown and few think it likely to happy to them, but thousands of motorists are caught out each year and have to put the festivities on hold while they wait for help from recovery services. One of the most common causes for these unwanted breaks in the journey is tyre-related issues.

In twelve days over last year’s Christmas and New Year holidays, Highways England attended nearly 700 tyre-related incidents on the motorway network alone*, with over 100 on Christmas and New Year’s Eves.

TyreSafe is reminding Britain’s motorists that this type of misery could often be avoided by carrying out some quick and easy checks before setting off.

Tyres need higher air pressures when the vehicle is fully loaded with the whole family and their belongings. If they’re left at the normal pressures, the car’s braking and handling will be less effective, it will use more fuel and make the tyres more vulnerable to damage, such as punctures.

In the vast majority of cases, the correct pressures can be found in the door sill or filler cap, and don’t be surprised if a substantial increase is advised. To check your own pressures, use an accurate gauge when the tyre is cold.

While adjusting air pressure, check the general condition of the tyre. Any stones or objects which can be removed from the tread, should be taken out, and if you notice lumps, bumps, cracks or cuts, have it examined by a tyre professional.

As you’re likely to encounter cold and wet conditions, it’s critical to ensure you have adequate tread depth, which can be easily checked using a 20p-piece. The border of a 20p can be used as guide to assess how close tread depth is to the minimum legal limit – 1.6mm. When the 20p is placed in the tyre’s grooves at numerous points the border should always be hidden, if you can see it, you may well be close to the legal limit and should have it checked.

And don’t forget the spare – if you have one – just in case you need to use it.

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, commented: “The holiday season should be spent enjoying the company of friends and family, not sat by the roadside waiting for help. Of course, the unexpected happens but a lot of tyre-related breakdowns are avoidable if the driver carries out a few simple checks before heading out on the roads. TyreSafe urges motorists to takes a few minutes to ensure their tyres are roadworthy and wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable Festive Season.”

* Incidents involving tyres on the Highways England (HE) network between 22/12/2014 and 02/01/2015, data supplied by Highways England

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