Tyres are the only parts of the vehicle which are in contact with the road. Safety in acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all depend on a relatively small area of road contact. It is therefore of paramount importance that tyres should be maintained in good condition at all times and that the correct replacements are fitted when the time comes to change them.
The original tyres for a vehicle are determined by joint consultation between the vehicle and tyre manufacturers to take into account all aspects of operation. It is recommended that changes in tyre size or type should not be undertaken without seeking advice from the vehicle or tyre manufacturers, as the effect on handling, safety and clearances must be taken into account.
A quick and easy way to see if your tyre tread exceed the minimum legal tread depth is to take the 20p test.
Simply place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit. If the outer band of the coin is visible, then your tyres may be illegal and unsafe, so should be checked by a qualified tyre professional immediately.
When taking the test, remember to check at least three locations around each tyre. As the test is so quick and easy, stay safe by checking your tyres at least once a month.
Over-inflation and Under-inflation
Tyres with insufficient air are also more likely to suffer from a sudden rapid deflation and will suffer premature wear on the outside edges of the tyre. The wheel rim and tyre will be more susceptible to impact damage. Over-inflation results in a less comfortable ride, a reduced area of contact with the road giving less grip in the day, and accelerated wear on the tread centre. The benefits of a properly inflated tyre include reduced running costs and longer tyre life.
The vehicle manufacturers’ handbook contains the correct pressures for your tyres, as well as it being available inside the fuel filler cap or driver’s door sill.
TyreSafe was formed in 2006 to reduce the number of tyre-related incidents on Britain’s roads by raising awareness of the importance of tyre maintenance in addition to the dangers of defective and illegal tyres. TyreSafe receives support from many areas of industry including most major tyre manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers, some associated equipment suppliers, and a number of vehicle manufacturers. To deliver its messages TyreSafe works closely with a wide range of commercial and government organisations such as National Highways, RoadSafe, police forces, fire services, councils, and many other bodies. Since its inception, TyreSafe’s activities have helped reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured each year in a tyre-related accident by 46%. TyreSafe is the authority and first point of reference for tyre safety issues. It will continue to develop this position through a wide range of education and information programmes that encourage motorists to improve their attitudes and behaviour towards tyre care and safety.