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Tyre safety takes a back seat

One in 10 UK car drivers have never checked their tyre pressures, according to new research by Hankook Tyres.

In addition, one in five only check their tyre pressures every six months, despite the general recommendation that they should be checked every week.

The Hankook survey delves into drivers’ awareness surrounding tyre safety and also reveals that half of drivers are unaware of what the legal limit is for tyre tread on a passenger car.

Tread depth has a decisive influence on the way a vehicle accelerates, brakes and corners. Safe tyres with legal tread depth will reduce the risks to drivers, their passengers and all road users.

Checking tyre tread depth

Driving on tyres with illegal tread depth not only reduces their safety on the road, but also risks a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.

Despite the fact that 70% of drivers do not change the tyres on their vehicle until there is a problem or they are advised to, 40% said that tyres are most important to maintain on a car.

However, the report also reveals that two thirds of drivers wouldn’t know how to change the tyre on a car in an emergency and almost one in five motorists do not carry a spare tyre in their vehicle, even though a quarter of drivers have broken down as a result of tyre related problems.

With winter now upon us, the research looked into driving in wintry conditions with a massive three quarters of drivers not confident driving in wintry conditions and less than 10% of drivers are unaware of the correct braking distance in icy weather. This means they could be putting other road users, and themselves, at risk by under-estimating the distance.

“The number of reported casualties resulting from tyre-related incidents over the last 5 years is 5,677 of which 989 people were killed or seriously injured,” said Stephen Marsh of Hankook.

“Where casualties arise from an accident caused by a vehicle defect, tyres are the single largest contributory factor over the last five reported years, accounting for 36% of the total.

“2.2 million cars annually fail their MoT due to tyre-related defects and with the weather getting colder and wintry conditions soon to arrive, it’s more important than ever for drivers to have better awareness when it comes to their vehicles and tyres.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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