Every October, TyreSafe run a ‘Tyre Safety Month’ campaign designed to keep you safe on the road. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of tyre safety and to encourage motorists to regularly check their tyres to ensure they meet legal requirements.
Tyre tread is the rubber that covers your tyre and makes contact with the road. A new tyre will begin its life with 8mm of tread, but over time this will wear down due to general driving wear and tear. There is no time frame for tyre tread wear, so it is important that you check yours every three weeks to ensure that they remain above the legal minimum depth of 1.6mm.
Legally, your tyres must maintain a tread depth of at least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band, including the central three-quarters of breadth in the tread and its entire outer circumference.
Checking your tread depth is a simple task and can be undertaken easily at home using a 20 pence coin. Simply use the coin to indicate how low your tread is by placing it in the grooves of your tyre and checking to see that you can still see the outer band of the coin. If you can see this part of the 20 pence, your tread depth is low and could be illegal. You should replace your tyres at this point.
Driving on tyres with 1.6mm is highly dangerous and poses a huge threat to the safety of yourself, your passengers and other road users. Dexel Tyre & Auto Centre would recommend replacing your tyres once they reach 3mm, as at this point your safety on the road is drastically affected.
Tyre tread is designed to provide the tyre with grip so that it can maintain contact with the surface of the road. The more tread your tyre has, the greater your gripping abilities, so when tread decreases so does your braking capabilities and wet weather performance.
Driving on illegal tyres could be highly dangerous in wet conditions, as tyre tread provides resistance against aquaplaning. When you aquaplane, water on the surface of the road causes your tyre to lose contact with the road, making it difficult for you to control your vehicle. Tyre tread works to evacuate water from the tyre and maintain contact with the road surface, reducing your risk of aquaplaning.
According to a recent survey from TyreSafe, there have been over 5,677 casualties over the last five years, resulting in 989 people being seriously injured or killed due to tyre related incidents*.
As well as being extremely dangerous, driving on tyres with tread lower than 1.6mm is illegal and if caught you will face 3 penalty points and a fine of up to £2,500 per illegal tyre. In addition, if you were in an accident, whether your fault or not, your insurance may be invalidated if you were found to be driving on illegal tyres.
Don’t take the risk – check your tyre tread every three weeks and contact a tyre specialist if you require further advice or find cause for alarm. When your tyres reach 3mm, Dexel Tyre & Auto Centre would recommend replacing them.