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Up to one in every four cars and vans running illegal tyres

The results from a survey conducted by TyreSafe in partnership with Highways England.

In response, the not-for-profit tyre safety organisation is reiterating its long standing message about simple tyre safety maintenance, and is urging all drivers to check their vehicle’s tyres, making sure they are not adding a substantial and avoidable risk to both themselves and other road users.

TyreSafe believes the main reason so many millions of motorists are taking risks with their tyre safety lies in a lack of awareness and driver education.

“TyreSafe does not believe millions of drivers are intentionally putting others at risk – it is more a question of educating motorists to take responsibility for their safety and that of others on the road,” said Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman.

“As vehicles have become increasingly reliable, owners have become less used to performing what were once considered basic precautionary checks before setting off on a journey. Tyres too are much more technologically advanced but they do wear and can get damaged so it is down to the driver to regularly check they’re safe.

“The evidence provided by the TyreSafe survey underlines what we already feared –awareness among Britain’s motorists’ of the importance of tyre safety urgently needs to improve.”

TyreSafe advises drivers when it comes to tyre safety checks they should always remember to ACT: Air pressure, Condition, Tread.

Air pressure: Is the vehicle’s pressure at the right level for the load? Check with your car’s owners’ manual or even the sticker in the fuel flap may have this.

If you don’t: You could use more fuel than necessary, increase wear and the risk of losing control of the vehicle.

Condition: Drivers are advised to inspect the tyre for signs of irregular wear or damage such as cuts, lumps or bulges.

If you don’t: You risk driving with a defective tyre which can lead to a rapid deflation. 

Tread depth: The law requires a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference of the tyre. A simple way to check is using TyreSafe’s 20p test. Insert the 20p coin into the main tyre grooves at several places around the circumference of the tyre and across its width. If the outer band of the 20p coin is visible whenever you check the tread, your tread depth may be illegal and you should have them checked by a qualified tyre specialist.

If you don’t: You can face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre, and reduce the amount of control you will have when accelerating, braking and cornering.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.