Drivers in East Anglia and the North West are among the most likely to be involved in a tyre related car accident according to safety organisation TyreSafe.The warning has been issued following research which revealed that nearly one in four drivers in these regions have never checked the depth of their tyre tread.Drivers in Wales were the most responsible with more than four in ten claiming to have checked their tyre tread depth within the last month, the maximum period recommended between checks, closely followed by drivers in Scotland where nearly four in ten drivers performed the checks.
“Although drivers in East Anglia and the North West showed the greatest levels of neglect with regard to tyre safety, our survey revealed a shocking number of drivers right across the country are failing to take adequate steps which could stop them from being involved in a car accident,” explains Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “Stopping distances in the wet are significantly increased if tyres do not have sufficient tread depth. Without regularly checking tread depth, the only time these drivers realise they are lacking grip may be as they are skidding out of control towards another vehicle.”
In addition to being more likely to be involved in an accident, drivers with illegal tread depth face fines of up to £2500 and three penalty points per tyre. Current UK law states that tyres must have a minimum of depth 1.6mm of tread across the central three quarters of the tread, around its entire circumference.
TyreSafe’s research also found that of those drivers who do check their tread depth, many were simply using guesswork to see if they were safe and legal. More than one in five drivers stated that they just looked at tyres generally rather than using a tread depth gauge, taking the car to a garage or tyre dealer, or any other recommended method.
As part of October’s tyre safety month, TyreSafe is giving drivers advice on a quick and easy way to see if their tyres have safe and legal tread depth. The organisations ‘lifesaver in your pocket’ campaign encourages drivers to insert a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of the tyre. If the outer band of the coin cannot be seen when inserted into the tread, then the tyres have adequate tread depth. If the outer band is visible, then the tyres may not have enough tread to be considered safe and legal and should be checked by a qualified specialist. To help explain the issues associated with illegal tread depth and a demonstration of how to carry out the ‘lifesaver in your pocket’ check, TyreSafe has produced a video presented by motoring expert Quentin Willson. The video can be viewed by visiting www.tyresafe.org or searching for ‘TyreSafe’ on YouTube.
“The simplicity of the ‘lifesaver in your pocket’ campaign means that drivers no longer have an excuse for not checking their tyre tread depths,” continues Jackson. “It’s incredibly quick and easy to perform the safety check and only needs to be carried out once a month. With your own safety at stake as well as that of your passengers and other road users, it could work out to be the best 20p you ever spend.”
Hundreds of garages and tyre dealers across the UK are supporting tyre safety month. Many are offering drivers free safety checks as part of the campaign.
For further details about tyre safety or tyre safety month visit 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%. TyreSafe is a signatory to the European Road Safety Charter which was launched in 2004 with the aim of halving the number of deaths on European roads by 2010.
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