7 October 2015
The AA is encouraging drivers to check their tyres as research* released during Tyre Safety Month reveals the risks drivers are taking by neglecting vital tyre safety checks.
Two-thirds of women (65%) and a third of men (36%) do not check their tyres regularly, instead relying on their garage to tell them when their tyres are worn out and need to be changed.
The research also shows the huge number of drivers risking an accident or worse because they rarely check the pressure, tread depth and condition of their tyres.
It’s recommended that drivers check their tyre pressure at two-weekly intervals, yet AA-Populus research, conducted amongst more than 18,000 members showed that fewer than half of drivers (43%) do this. A quarter (25%) leave a tyre pressure check for two months or more. And 3% say they never check their tyres.
David Bruce, Director of AA Tyres said: “Whether it’s because people don’t know much about tyre maintenance or they simply don’t have the time to check them, it’s clear that drivers aren’t paying enough attention to the condition of their tyres.
“It’s easy to forget that tyres are the only part of the car that touches the road, so if they’re worn, poorly inflated or damaged they can potentially be very dangerous.
“October is statistically the wettest month of the year so can present challenging conditions to drivers — especially if their car’s tyres are worn. It’s a good time to take a few minutes out of your day to check your tyres are up to scratch — and replace them if needed.”
Mr Bruce suggests that replacing worn or damaged tyres is often neglected simply because drivers can’t afford an hour or more off work or spare time to drive to a tyre depot and wait for the work to be carried out, so they put off the visit — sometimes until it’s too late.
“If you are stopped by police for any reason they are likely to check your tyres — and if they are worn, you will pick up a fixed penalty and three points for each tyre that’s below the legal limit,” Mr Bruce adds.
Earlier this year The AA launched AA Tyres, a mobile tyre fitting service which allows customers to have tyres fitted at their convenience, whether it’s at home or at work. The service is now available across most of England and offers a range of seasonal and winter tyres.
AA Tyre safety checklist
Four small patches of rubber are the only parts of the car that touch the road, so having the right tyres, in good condition and correctly inflated is vital for your safety.
- Tyres must be compatible with others on the car and in good physical condition.
- Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended pressure.
- Tread depth must be above the legal minimum: for passenger cars this is 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference.
- You don't have to carry a spare and if you do it doesn't have to meet the legal requirements while it's stowed away. It may however affect breakdown cover if you don't carry a serviceable spare.
- AA recommend replacing tyres when the tread depth reaches 2mm (3mm for winter tyres). Stopping distances are greater as tread depth reduces, especially in wet weather. Note that some European countries have different legal requirements — check the AA’s travel tips before you go.
- Make sure you check the pressure and condition of your tyres regularly — AA recommends at least fortnightly. Check your handbook for pressure details; an information panel in the drivers’ door frame or fuel filler flap gives tyre pressure information.
- Always check pressures when the tyres are cold. When checking pressure also check for wear, bulges or cuts in the tyre. If in doubt get it checked professionally.
- Always use the same size and type of tyres supplied with the car — check your handbook for information.
- It’s best to have the same brand and pattern of tyre on the same axle, different tyres may affect performance or road noise.
- The least worn tyres should be on the rear axle. Newer tyres are less likely to puncture and it’s more difficult to control a car with a deflated rear tyre.
- Maximum fine for driving with a defective tyre is £2,500 and three penalty points. If there is more than one defective tyre, the penalty will apply for each one.
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