How To Check Your Tires Are Safe and Legal in the UK
With poor tire maintenance being the leading cause for car accidents in the UK, tire safety is of critical importance when you are out on the road. In fact, there are over 15,000 accidents a year due to bad tires.
Moreover, it is a part of the car which many drivers overlook as they may think that mirrors, seat belts and airbags should have more of their attention. However, it is imperative to ensure your tires are safe and legal, especially before venturing on a long road trip.
When considering tire safety, many ignore or underestimate the important of grip. Firstly, in order to grip the road effectively, evacuate water and have control over both the speed of the vehicle and the vehicle itself, your tires require a safe amount of remaining tread. This is important for grip especially in wet conditions where your car could easily spin off or slide on the road. This could result in your death or injury as well as increasing the likelihood of insuring or killing a passenger. In fact, bald tires can even lead to other issues such as blowouts or punctures.
It is also important to ensure that your tires have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm. If your car does not have this, you could risk being issues with a fine. The fine for driving on a set of four tires with a tread depth of under 1.6mm would be £10,000. There also could be consequences for your insurance deal as if insurers find out that you have a tread depth of less than 1.6mm, you may not have the grounds to claim insurance. You do not have to be limited to tires that you do not like as there are a range of tires you can choose from.
It is crucial to keep your tires in check as it also affects the braking distance of your car. The braking distance is how far your vehicle travels before it comes a total halt (after the brakes are effectively applied). While this can be affected by other things such as the weather and road conditions, your tires can also impact this distance. This is because they need to heighten their contact with the road in order to give us a braking distance that is perfect for stopping. If your tires do not have the correct pressure or tread, this affects the contact with the road and could result in a different braking distance. This could lead to a crash as you may brake at the correct time, but your tires could mean that you brake later and thus an accident may occur.
There are many ways to check your tires. You will need to take a 20p coin and insert it into the tread grooves. If you can't see the outer part on the coin, your tires are more than the legal limit. However, if you can see the band and that section of the coin is still visible, they could be dangerous and need professional inspection by a mechanic. The 20p test is typically carried out every two weeks and before long journeys. When checking tire tread with a tire tread depth gauge there are purpose made tools that swiftly measure the depth of an individual groove. You will need to purchase these.
To conclude, we should never underestimate the importance of checking our tires to ensure that they are safe and legal. Whilst tires are often a feature of a vehicle that gets overlooked, they can affect everything from the braking distance to our insurance claims. Most importantly, if not checked they can even result in serious injury or death. This is why we should be conscious of the last time we checked our tires before heading out on a long or even short journey.