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Could You Be Driving An Illegal Car?

According to the results of a recent survey by TyreSafe in association with Highways England, an astonishing 10 million motorists in the UK could be driving vehicles with dangerous and even illegal tyres in 2016.

The survey is the result of over 340,000 replacement tyres at 819 retail locations across the UK, the outcome of which revealed that over 27% were illegal at the time of replacement.

These statistics mean that over a quarter of 37 million cars and light commercial vehicles which are being driven on UK roads have illegal tyres which could cost the driver three penalty points, a fine of £2,500, an MOT failure, or, potentially, their, and others’, lives.

The impact of driving with illegally worn tyres affects all road users, with dangerous tyres being the largest single contributory factor in accidents resulting in casualties.

Above all, the depth of tread left on a tyre has a significant impact on the stopping distance of a vehicle in wet conditions.

Research has shown that a vehicle with a legal amount of tread (1.6mm) has nearly 12 metres more braking distance than a vehicle with new tyres when stopping in the wet while travelling at 50mph.

Unfortunately many drivers display poor attitudes or ignorance about what constitutes an illegal tyre.

Drivers can reduce the risks to themselves and other motorists by conducting monthly tyre checks, and particularly before long journeys.

The air pressure in all tyres should be at the manufacturer’s recommended settings and tread depth should be at least that of the depth of a 20 pence coin (over the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm).

If the rim of the coin is visible when inserted into the tread, the tyre may be illegal.

Motorists should also check for bumps or lumps, signs of wear and tear or visible scuffing on the tyre which may indicate internal damage.

If the number of casualties from tyre-related incidents is to be reduced, the attitude of UK motorists towards vehicle maintenance needs to change, and the onus is on drivers to take responsibility for carrying out regular checks to ensure their vehicle’s tyres are safe and roadworthy.

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