The potential risks for young drivers are innumerable and many can only be reduced by gaining experience on the roads but what they (and all drivers, in fact) can do is ensure their car is roadworthy before they set off – especially the condition of its tyres. Tyre maintenance is essential to road safety yet a staggering amount of young drivers either admit to failing to regularly check their tyres, never having checked them at all or not knowing what to do. Failure to check tyres’ condition not only increases the possibility of incurring a fine, penalty points or an insurance dispute, but also endangers the driver’s life and of all other road-users.
Asda Tyres is a member of TyreSafe, which campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of defective and illegal tyres, and has worked with partners and supporters to provide the advice and answers young drivers need.
Just how few young drivers were aware of the need to check tyres was highlighted by a survey conducted by TyreSafe with insurance company Ingenie. The results of polling 1000 young drivers revealed:
• 1 in 3 had never checked their tyres’ tread depth
• 1 in 4 had never checked their tyres’ pressure
• 85% thought the penalties for driving with a defective tyre were lower than they actually are
• 62% thought the legal limit for tread depth was lower than it is
What do young drivers need to know?
Tyres are a vehicle’s primary safety feature, determining how well a car brakes and grips the road around corners. They should always be in roadworthy condition and have a tread depth above the legal limit of 1.6mm. If the tread depth is below that, or if the Police deem the tyres to be unroadworthy, a fine of up to £2500 and three penalty points can be imposed – FOR EACH TYRE.
Young drivers should also be aware that if the Police stop and check a car’s tyres, they will hold the driver responsible for their condition – a fact which 57% of the young drivers surveyed did not know. Even though many young drivers maybe sharing a car with parents or siblings, and they don’t own the car, they will be held liable if stopped. In short, they shouldn’t assume someone else has been maintaining a car’s tyres for them but instead they should be confident the tyres are in good condition having carried out some simple checks themselves before setting off.
What do young drivers need to do?
Young drivers should always remember to ACT on tyre safety – Air pressure, Condition and Tread depth. The checks are simple and come be carried out in just a few minutes.
How to Check
The tread depth is important to maintain good grip on wet roads but, as the tread wears down, the tyres will lose the ability of good grip. The ‘20p test’ is a quick way to check the tread depth. Place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves at three points across the tyre and then repeat around its circumference. If the outer band is visible, the tyres may be unsafe or illegal and need to be checked by a tyre professional.
Tyre pressure is equally important. Having the right pressure ensures the car handles as it should, reduces the risk of a sudden deflation and helps keep fuel consumption of the vehicle at its optimal level. The car manufacturer typically displays the correct pressures in the door shut or filler cap, but it can always be found in the owner’s manual or on TyreSafe’s pressure checker (www.tyresafe.org). Remember there are two pressures – one for normal loads and the other when fully laden.
While you’re checking pressures, it’s a good opportunity to have a look at the tyre’s condition. Tyres are never manufactured with lumps, bumps or objects sticking in them, so if you see any of these, you’ll need to have the tyre inspected. If objects like stones are wedged in the tread, remove them if you can.
By carrying out these simple checks, a young driver can help keep themselves as safe as possible when they set out on a journey. To find out more about tyre safety, visit www.tyresafe.org, follow TyreSafe on Twitter @TyreSafe or Like on facebook.com/tyresafeuk or asdatyres.co.uk for replacements.