We all know that a worn tyre does not grip the road as well as a new tyre would do. The rubber tyres are the only contact we have with the road below us. If we come to a hazard which requires hard braking that worn tyre may not be able to stop the vehicle fast enough. The stopping distance increases even more when the road is wet or icy when even good tyres will take longer to stop than on dry summer day.
We know the consequences of not being able to stop in time. In addition try taking a fast sharp bend on a wet icy road with worn tyres. Are you going to be able to stay on the road or will you go off into a wall, hit a heavy truck or over the edge.
What The UK Law Says About Car Tyre Safety.
The law in the UK requires that all vehicles used on the public road are fitted with the right type and size for that car. In other words each wheel is required to have the correct tyre inflated to the appropriate pressure when ever it is being used in a public place. Note if you are using the car on a private land you should still comply with that law. Any injury occurring to a third party arising due to using poor tyres could result in you being held responsible.
Rule 1. There are two main types of car tyres produced for cars in the UK. a) the original cross-ply tyre and b) the newer radial tyre. Due to the way these two tyre types flex it is unsafe and illegal to mix the tyres on the same axle. You can have two cross-ply on one axle and two radial on the other but don’t mix them on the same axle.
Rule 2. The minimum depth for the tread on your tyres is 1.6mm (millimetres). It should be measured across the central 3/4 width of the tyre at all points around the circumstances. There are discussions being held which will increase the minimum tread depth of tyres in the near future.
Many car safety people including most car manufacturers suggest that you replace the tyre when it reaches 3 mm. It will take a car an extra 8 metres to stop a car at 1.6 mm than it would at 3 mm. 8 metres is around the length of an average family car so could mean the life of a child stepping out onto the road in front of you.
Note in addition to the extra distance for braking mentioned above it should also be noted that a regular check of your tyres can help you to avoid 3 penalty points and £2,500 in fines (per tyre) for having tyres worn beyond the legal minimum limit on your vehicle.
Rule 3. Your tyres need to be kept at the correct pressure. Many people like to lower the pressure slightly in snow conditions as it is thought to increase road grip. However this has a minimal effect if any in practice and driving on soft tyres increases wear and tear whilst also reducing miles per gallon. Once clear of the snow are you willing to immediately stop and pump the tyres back up to the correct pressure in the manufacturers guide? Not doing so can be dangerous. Checking tyre pressures on a regular basis (at least weekly) and before any long journeys at high speed is essential for safety.
Rule 4. The modern trend for car spare tyres is to make them an inch or so smaller than the standard tyre fitted onto the other four standard wheels. If you have a road puncture and replace it with the smaller tyre it must be replaced with one of the correct size as soon as possible. That tyre is meant for emergency use only. and you can be fined for using it other than on the day of the emergency.
For car tyre safety you should also cut back on your speed as your car handling will be adversely affected with two different tyre sizes fitted.
Car Tyre Safety is important however most drivers neglect it far more than they should. Croft Autotech can both supply and fit new car tyres for you. For more information just ring Scott on 01358 722112 or use the contact us form here.
Published by Scott Cheyne