As the holiday season gets into full flow, the country’s roads will quickly fill with motorists towing their caravans to their chosen holiday destination. Caravan owners are being encouraged by TyreSafe to make sure they enjoy the safest journey possible by checking their tyres before leaving home. Tyres are the only component of a caravan to come into contact with the road, so are vital to its stability and safety.
TyreSafe recommends that caravanners conduct a brief check of their tyres, to ensure that the tyres are correctly inflated, the tread depth is safe and within the legal limit, and that the tyres are in good condition and not too old for use. The main areas to check are:
1. Tyre pressure
Many holidaymakers will be loading up their vehicles, so it is important to check whether there is a recommended tyre pressure level for the vehicle when fully loaded, and to make sure that the actual tyre pressure for the vehicle is in line with that. The tyre pressure of the rear wheels of the vehicle towing the caravan may also need to be adjusted. Under-inflated tyres wear more quickly and are less fuel efficient than correctly inflated tyres. With the cost of fuel ever-increasing, research conducted by a leading tyre manufacturer and TyreSafe member reveals that a tyre under-inflated by 10psi increases fuel consumption by approximately 2.5 percent.
2. Tread depth
Given the unpredictable weather that often plagues the British summer holidays, it is vital that caravanners check their tread depth before setting off on their journey. Tread depth has a significant effect on braking, with performance tests indicating that a vehicle braking in the wet with low tread will require a much longer braking distance. Current tread depth legislation requires that car tyres must have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread in a continuous band throughout the central three-quarters of the tread width and over the whole circumference of the tyre. TyreSafe recommends that motorists consider changing their tyres before the legal limit.
3. Tyre condition
Caravanners should look out for embedded objects in the caravan tyres, and check for signs of ageing such as sidewall cracking and carcass deformation. The spare wheel should also be in good condition, and motorists should check that the jack is on board prior to departure. TyreSafe recommends that caravan owners discuss any changes in tyre size or type with the caravan or tyre manufacturer.
The original tyres are carefully selected by the caravan and tyre manufacturers to ensure optimum safety and vehicle handling.
Caravan owners preferring to have their tyres checked professionally can take their vehicle to any reputable tyre retailer, who will be able to provide tyre safety advice and information.
Leaflets containing further advice for caravan and motorhome owners can be found on the TyreSafe website, along with a new visual tyre safety guide.
TyreSafe is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of the dangers of defective and worn tyres. TyreSafe has campaigned consistently to underline the importance of tyre safety for more than 15 years and was rewarded with the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2001.
TyreSafe receives positive support from many major tyre manufacturers and retailers, and has been credited with reducing the number of defective tyres in the UK over the past decade from 18% to 12%.
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