Defective tyres cause 40% of accidents

brake-shorter-002Admit it, you just jump into your car and as long as there are no odd sounds or strange vibrations, you will drive for endless days without a second thought about what is really important…routine checks. Groan!

We all know that we need to make sure our oil, water and washer jet fluids are topped up… oh and enough fuel for the daily school run and commute, but how often do you think to do a visual and physical check of the only part of your car that comes into contact with the road? Yes, I mean those dirty, grubby, chunky, expensive black rubber boots – tyres.

Statistics put together in 2013 showed that 40% of all vehicle accidents occurred because of having defective, illegal or under-inflated tyres. Despite this, drivers seem to put tyre maintenance down as an ‘after thought’ rather than a high priority. Tyre pressure is very important; too high and your steering will be too hard to control as it will be very light, you will wear the centre section of the tyre quickly (as that is the only part touching the road) not to mention the tyre could explode! Too little air in your tyres wears the outer tyre edge and can cause tyre wall damage; you will also notice very heavy steering. Either way, incorrect tyre pressures will severely affect your stopping distances and, at this time of year, whether snow, ice or rain, you’ll want your tyres working at their optimum performance. In fact, winter tyres will allow you to break up to 8m shorter than normal tyres!

The legal wear limit is 1.6mm of tread across the central 75% of the tyre. Take a 20p coin and insert it into the groove of the tyre tread. The band on the outer edge of the coin is the limit, so if you can see any of the border edge of the coin then it’s time to change your tyres. You must check several points across the width and circumference of the tyre and check all four tyres, not just the fronts. While inspecting the tread depth look at the whole tyre for any bulges, bubbles, splits or cracks on the side wall – all are indicators that something is not quite right.

You don’t have to be a trained mechanic to do these simple driver checks. Early detection could save you an awful lot of time and aggravation at the roadside – not to mention preventing an avoidable accident or 3 penalty points and up to a £2,500 fine!

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