Road worthy tyres are a legal requirement in the United Kingdom and a must for safe driving. Driving with poor quality tyres doesn’t only put drivers and passengers at risk, but it also threatens the safety of other road users and pedestrians. Be confident that your tyres are road worthy by following these quick tips.
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Check for Obvious Signs
Signs that your tyres are not roadworthy are soon evident on close inspection. They should have no bulging, slashes, wearing or tearing. The tread should be at least 1.6mm deep in the central three-quarters of the tyre. The tyres should be inflated with ample air, being firm to the touch.
You can check this at most petrol stations at the air pressure machine on the forecourt and you should check it weekly when tyres are cold. Usually this is free of charge. The necessary air pressure of tyres varies depending on the size and type of tyre you are using. Check with the tyre manufacturer online for the correct air pressure. Tyres that are not amply inflated will reduce the required braking distance of the vehicle.
Hub caps should also be fixed firmly and evenly onto the wheel.
Plan Your Journeys
Before setting out on any long drives be sure to check your tyres. Whether you are driving down to Cornwall for the weekend or driving across Europe, you should first do a full review of your vehicle, not just your tyres.
Plan the route that you are planning to take using handy websites, such as Via Michelin www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Routes or even consult a map to check on the quality of the roads you will take. Some roads, particularly in Eastern Europe, are very poor and if your tyres are not up to it you may find yourself stranded in a strange country.
It is also important to check the condition of your spare tyre in the boot. It is easy to overlook this, but you will regret it if you come to need it during a long journey.
Check Your Tyre Type
Lastly, there are many types of tyre you can fit to your vehicle, depending on where you intend to use it. If you are likely to be driving in snowy conditions you could consider fitting snow tyres.
Some keen drivers also prefer to use special tyres in summer and different tyres during winter. In summer the increase in air and road temperatures means an appropriate tyre will adapt better to the changing road surface temperatures. In winter it is advisable to invest in tyres that will give you a stronger grip in rainy or icy conditions, when it is easy to lose control of a heavy vehicle, increasing the chance of an accident.
If you are at all unsure as to whether your tyres are roadworthy, you should first consult the Highway Code and then take your vehicle to a garage to be checked by a professional.
Protect the safety of you, your passengers and your fellow road users by ensuring your tyres are in the best possible condition for the journey you plan to take.
The author is a Buckinghamshire based driving instructor with over 25 years experience teaching countless students not only to drive, but also about vehicle maintenance and the highway code. He is also an amateur rally driver. He recommends visiting www.tyrebaydirect.co.uk for all of your tyre needs.