Perhaps it might be a bit of a strong statement to say that almost all road accidents are caused by one pin-pointed cause, such as worn-down or deflated tyres, however you cannot deny the correlation. The Department for Transport (DfT) has revealed that poor tyre maintenance has been the most common reason for car accidents in the UK last year. And we are not talking small numbers, during a 12 month period, 446 accidents were linked to defective tyres, beating faulty brakes to the top spot by 81.
The main tyre issues have been reported to be low pressure, tread that has worn below 3mm and general damage. This suggests that far too many motorists are neglecting to regularly check the condition of their car’s tyres. According to TyreSafe research, 57% of car and van tyres are being driven at least 4psi below the manufacturer’s recommended pressure settings.
Andrew Neal, owner of numerous car repair shops in South East England, said that he has seen a small fall in the number of cars brought to their shops due to damages caused by faulty tyres, however this does not mean that the problem has been solved:
“I have been speaking to the mechanics working at my shops and they are all quite surprised by just how many people forget to check their tyres, or just don’t know how to check them properly. You’d be shocked by how many people continue driving their cars even after finding faults. This is extremely dangerous and can result in serious accidents and injuries. As well as being checked during the annual MOT test, tyres should be checked on a monthly basis and whenever there is suspicion that they may have become defective.”
You could describe a lot of peoples’ approach to checking their tyres the same as some peoples’ approach to fixing their teeth – not getting a check up until they are in pain. Like Andrew Neal pointed out, this is neglect that can lead to more than a tooth ache, not only for the person responsible, but for other road users too. After all, new car tyres will cost you a lot less than a new car, an increased insurance premium and your own well being as well as that of others around you.
TyreSafe are running their annual Tyre Safety Month throughout this October. The initiative was first introduced to raise awareness on the importance of regular maintenance checks and the dangers of defective and illegal tyres.