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Young drivers have low tyre safety awareness

Young drivers have low tyre safety awareness

Four out of five drivers don’t know what the legal tread depth is for tyres, according to new research by Hankook Tyre UK.

October is Tyre Safety Month and Hankook Tyre UK has surveyed UK motorists, uncovering alarming gaps in safety knowledge, particularly with younger drivers who are oblivious that they are at risk.

Many drivers take great pride in their cars, but only 55% said they had checked the tread depth of their tyres in the last six months – the recommended time between checks. Worryingly, almost a quarter (24%) said they’d never checked their tread depth at all.

Even more surprisingly, less than a third (32%) of drivers between 17-14 are aware of the simple 20p test as a method of checking tread depth, compared to just under half of drivers aged between 35-54.

Checking tyre tread depth

The 20p test is an essential bit of tyre safety knowledge that could potentially be life-saving.

The method sees motorists place the coin in the main tread channels at various points around the tyre. If you can see any part of the outer band of the coin face, it means the tyre tread is too shallow and more than likely illegal.

Only 47% of drivers said they would replace their tyres as soon as they reached the minimum legal tread depth. What’s more, only 14% would only buy new tyres if theirs had gone flat or had a puncture. This jumps to 32% of drivers between the ages of 17 and 24.

However, it comes as no surprise that only half (51%) of drivers know that the meaning of the code on the sidewall of their tyres – for example 205/55 R 16 – denotes the size of the tyre.

And under a fifth (17%) are aware that the EU Tyre Label tells motorists the efficiency, wet grip capabilities and noise level of their tyres.

“We live in a time where the only contact between the car and the road is unfortunately mis-sold, ignored or misunderstood,” said Mark Grace of Hankook Tyre UK. “Motorists should be doing their utmost to keep themselves, their passengers and other road users safe, and we as a nation of drivers aren’t doing enough.

“Notably, 45% of drivers with between three and five years of driving experience would consider buying part-worn tyres.

“Whilst part-worn tyres aren’t illegal, you aren’t guaranteed the same sort of performance as you would with a new tyre. This is something to keep in mind, given how
popular part-worn tyres tend to be with younger drivers.”

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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