With more than 2 million extra caravan holidays predicted in the UK this year, TyreSafe is reminding caravanners to make sure all of their tyres are safe for travel before taking to the road.
Caravans left standing throughout the year can develop flatspots or suffer from exposure to UV rays which may lead to handling issues or premature failure. Additionally, tyre pressures should be checked not only on the caravan, but also on the towing vehicle and adjusted accordingly to take account of the extra load.
“We know that as a result of the recession many more people will be taking their main summer holiday in the UK this year,” explains Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe.
“A significant number of these will be choosing a caravan holiday, possibly for the first time, and it’s essential that they make a few important tyre checks before setting off to reduce the risk of causing an accident.”
VisitBritain is predicting a 20 per cent rise in British holidays this summer. Earlier this year The Caravan Club reported advance bookings up by 40 per cent on 2008, and the National Caravan Council predicts that nearly 14 million holidays will be taken in 2009 in touring caravans, motor caravans and caravan holiday homes.
Tyre pressures for both the caravan and towing vehicle should be checked using an accurate and reliable gauge, when they are cold (i.e. when they have been running for less than two miles).
Pressures should be adjusted according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations to take into account the additional load being carried. The correct tyre pressures can be found in the vehicle handbook, inside the fuel filler cap or inside the driver’s door sill.
When checking pressures, caravanners should give the rest of the tyre a visual inspection, looking out for signs of cracking, any bulges, lumps or cuts, and removing any stones or other objects embedded in the tread.
“Drivers who set off on under-inflated tyres, greatly increase the risk of suffering from rapid tyre deflation and a potentially serious accident,” continues Jackson.
“By taking a few minutes to check the pressure and condition of tyres before going on holiday, caravanners are much more likely to have a safe and enjoyable journey.”
As well as checking the condition and pressure of tyres, caravan owners should also check the tread depth. Current UK law requires that both car and caravan tyres should have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread in a continuous band throughout the central three-quarters of the tread width, around the whole circumference of the tyre.
Adequate tread depth is essential to safe driving in wet conditions. As the tyre tread wears down, it gradually loses the ability to evacuate water from the road surface, increasing stopping distances and heightening the risk of aquaplaning.
Drivers who do not meet these legal requirements not only increase the risk of being involved in an accident, but can also incur fines of up to £2,500 and three penalty points per illegal tyre.
Caravan owners who require assistance to check the condition and pressure of their tyres should visit their nearest tyre dealer. Further information about car and caravan tyre safety including a downloadable information leaflet, can be found by visiting www.tyresafe.org.
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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