Motorists urged to check tyres regularly
Nearly eight million motorists are placing their own safety at risk by not checking or replacing worn car tyres.
Halfords Autocentres analysed its own MOT and service data and found that 8.5% of cars visiting its centres for an annual road worthiness check or a service had at least one tyre that was dangerous -the equivalent of 2.7 million cars on UK roads.
A further 16.3% (equivalent to 5.2 million cars) had at least one tyre with only 2mm to 3mm of tread remaining – below the point at which tyre performance begins to degrade significantly.
Commenting on the findings Stefan Warhaftig, of Halfords, said: “A new car tyre begins life with around 8mm of tread, so to arrive for an MOT with a tyre at or below the legal minimum of 1.6mm means weeks or months of neglect have taken place.
“The difference between 1.6mm and 3mm of tread is an extra eight metres of stopping distance in wet conditions and the maximum fine for driving on an illegal tyre is £2,500 – something worth considering when you’re next washing the car or filling up with fuel and could take the time to carry out a quick check.”
Halfords Autocentres figures also reveal that some regions had far higher incidences of dangerous or severely worn tyres than others – with 32% of drivers from Hampshire placing themselves at risk, closely followed by 29% of motorists in Scotland.
In South Wales, while tyres were generally better than average with 76% being OK (UK average 72%), they have one of the highest proportions of illegal tyres at 12% (versus 8.5% average). The best area for tyre safety in the UK is the East Midlands where 80% of tyres passed an inspection without fault.
According to safety organisation TyreSafe, a quick and easy way to see if your tyre tread exceeds the minimum legal tread depth is to take the 20p test.
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 the tread is above the legal limit.
If the outer band of the coin is visible, then the tyres may be illegal and unsafe and should be checked immediately by a qualified tyre professional.
Motorists should check at least three locations around each tyre at least once a month.
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