October is Tyre Safety Month, which coincides with the fast approaching winter months and the colder weather.

This year’s campaign has started on a positive note, as the Department for Transport has just revealed that there has been a fall in the number of casualties linked to tyre-related accidents. The 2015 data, which was published last week, confirms there was a 28% decrease in the number of fatalities and serious injuries compared to 2014. Total casualties for the same period fell by 16.2%.

Since the Tyre Safe campaign was introduced in 2006, there has been a 44% decrease in the number of tyre-related road casualties. However, there is no evidence that incidents that do not result in death or injury are decreasing. As a result, TyreSafe insist that drivers should not become complacent and they recommend that all drivers should perform regular tyre checks.

Driving with illegal tyres

It’s a sad truth that drivers often neglect their tyres. Earlier this year a survey by TyreSafe and Highways England estimated that the number of illegal tyres could be over 10 million – despite the fact that failing to maintain tyres can have serious consequences.

By law, tyre tread should be at least 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the tyre. Drivers risk a £2,500 fine and three penalty points if caught driving with one illegal tyre. If all four tyres are illegal, they face the prospect of a £10,000 fine and 12 penalty points.

Risking more than penalties

Driving with insufficient tyre tread can lead to serious incidents on the road. Research by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has found that tyre performance is significantly reduced when there is less than 3mm remaining, especially on wet surfaces. Below 3mm, stopping distances can range from between 25–50 metres. Well-maintained tyres dramatically reduce the chance of being involved in a road accident.

Get involved

Businesses have a duty of care to all employees who drive as part of their job, and should take care of all administration for staff with company cars. However, these drivers would still be personally fined if caught driving with a tyre tread below the legal limit. So it’s definitely worth carrying out regular checks.

Check your tyre tread

Insert a 20 piece into your tyre’s tread grooves. Check if the outer rim of the coin is covered by the tread and repeat this across the width of the tyre at several points around the circumference. If you can see the rim at any point, your tyre may be illegal.

Check your tyre pressure

Find the recommended pressure in either on the inner side of the driver’s door, on the inner side of the fuel filler cap or in your owner’s manual. It’s simple to check the pressure and top up air at most fuel stations.

Check the general condition

Remove any stones or objects and check for any visual defects such as lumps or bulges. It’s a good idea to get these checked out by a professional.

Find out more about tyre laws and proper tyre maintenance for your vehicle.

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