Motorists advised to check their tread to improve road safety


28thOct08With one of the wettest summers on record, TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation, is reminding drivers to check their tyre tread depth to stay safe on the roads this winter. Recent figures issued by the Department of Transport revealed that in 2007, November was the month which saw the highest number of personal injury accidents. To help reduce the figure this November, TyreSafe is reminding motorists to check tyre pressure and tread depth at least once a month to ensure their safety on the wet roads.
“In addition to regular tyre pressure checks, TyreSafe strongly advises motorists to check their tread depth and ensure they meet the minimum legal level before rainfall levels increase,” explains Rob Beddis, chairman, TyreSafe.

“Accident rates tend to increase at the onset of winter, as many motorists continue to drive their cars on tyres with low or illegal tread depths. When the rainfall increases they often find themselves in a situation where the tyres have insufficient tread depth to disperse the water from the road surface properly. This can then lead to loss of grip and increased stopping distances, which frequently cause accidents that could have been easily avoided.”

When driving in wet weather, the tread pattern of the tyre helps to evacuate water from the contact patch. As the tread wears down, the tyre gradually loses the ability to remove all of the water from the road surface, increasing the risk of aquaplaning. Tread depth also 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 stopping distance.

A recent survey conducted on behalf of TyreSafe revealed that only 30 percent of motorists are aware of the UK’s minimum legal tyre tread depth for a passenger car.

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. Motorists found to be driving on illegal tyres face a maximum penalty of three penalty points and a fine of up to £2500 per tyre.

Drivers unsure of how to check their tread depth should visit one of the hundreds of garages offering free tyre checks as part of Tyre Safety Month. For further information about tread depth, tyre safety or Tyre Safety Month visit

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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