Tyre information: Road safety driving tips
During 2019/20, the DVSA reported that 7% of UK car MOT fails were due to tyre issues.
These can be easily avoided by following this fool-proof guide to tyres, so here are five top driving tips to help you ensure safer trips in your vehicle.
Check tyre pressure
Keeping your tyres properly inflated is crucial when it comes to road safety.
Driving with reduced tyre pressure can cause your motor to burn fuel very quickly, not to mention put your personal safety in jeopardy.
Ideally, you should check your tyre pressure before every long trip and at least every three weeks. If you don't know what the tyre pressure should be for your vehicle, you can find this in your driver manual. You can also find this tyre information on the driver’s door or inside the petrol flap.
Use a tyre gauge to check the PSI is when the tyre is cold, to give the truest reading, as even a short journey can warm up the tyres.
Check for damage
You should always check your tyres for things like nails, bits of glass or shards of metal which could be protruding out of the tread. It's also important to keep an eye on cracks, as these could lead to an MOT fail.
Damage as mentioned above and lumps, bulges or tears, can cause slow punctures to develop and, the steel wires in tyres to rust.
It is also important to check that your tyres are correctly balanced, as an incorrect balance can lead to excessive wear and steering wheel vibration.
Don't forget to check your spare tyre too, as you'll often be far away from home when you need it most!
Check your tread
Did you know that if you are caught driving with illegal tyre tread depth you can receive a hefty fine and penalty points?
The minimum legal depth is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tread width and around the entire circumference of the tyre.
Driving with low or illegal tyre tread depth increases the potential for tyre failure and aquaplaning. In wintery conditions, this could severely reduce your ability to grip and control.
If you're not sure how to check your tread is legal, simply take a 20 pence piece and do this simple test.
If your wheel alignment is incorrect, this could lead to excessive wear on your tyres and your car pulling left or right.
Most modern tyres also have tread wear indicators moulded into the base of the main grooves. When the tread surface is worn to the same level as these indicators, this means that the tyre has reached the minimum legal limit and should be replaced.
Take extra caution in wet conditions
You are twice more likely to have an accident in wet weather than dry, due to braking and stopping distances.
You consider that the driver in front may need time to stop suddenly during adverse conditions or may slip or aquaplane. The stopping distance of a tyre width 1.6mm of tread is double that of a tyre with 8mm, so always allow for more space than usual between your vehicles.
It's also important to make sure your wiper blades are in good condition, so if you can hear a strange squeaking noise when they wipe, they'll need to be replaced.
Take care to tune in to weather reports as they may help you make diversions to avoid dangerous routes.
Don't overload your vehicle
Overloading your motor has the same effect on tyres as under or over-inflation and can lead to premature tread wear and in extreme cases, a sudden blow-out.
Suspension cannot handle motorway speeds if the motor is carrying a load heavier that it's capable of. And of course, your brakes are not as effective, with an overloaded vehicle.
More expert advice
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