October has been chosen by TyreSafe (a charity established in 2006 to raise awareness on the importance of correct tyre maintenance and the dangers of defective tyres) as the tyre safety month. This initiative comes in the beginning of autumn when the nights are drawing in and temperatures are dropping. October generally sees the weather take a turn for the worse as the country braces itself for the onset of winter; and while regular tyre checks are important all year round, Tyre Safety Month takes place each October to make drivers aware of the dangers of illegal tyres and help them prepare their vehicles for winter.
According to the data forwarded by TyreSafe, around two million vehicles fail an MOT test due to tyre related issues that could be avoided if vehicles had been properly checked. While the need to carry out regular tyre checks may seem obvious, an alarming number of motorists are replacing tyres only when they have already become dangerous. If they carried out tyre checks, this avoidable safety issue could be rectified.
Still, according to the data shared, a shocking 35% of tyres are being driven at least 8psi below the vehicle manufacturers’ recommendation. Tyre pressure is key for vehicles, as it influences the way vehicles accelerate, brake and corner, but it also has a bearing on wear and tear (for every 10% a tyre is under-inflated, its wear can increase by 10%) and fuel consumption (3% more fuel used when pressure is 6 psi below recommended inflation). It has been estimated that in the UK, £600 million (around €683 million) are wasted yearly on fuel costs by British motorists driving with under-inflated tyres.
With regards to safety, tyres that have been properly checked, have the correct air pressure, with little sign of damage or tear and are correctly aligned can reduce risks to you, your fleet, your passengers and all road users. Vehicles with worn tyres exhibit greatly increased braking distances than those with ample tread (a vehicle travelling at 30mph on a wet road with 3mm of tread will stop up to 8 metres shorter than the same vehicle with 1.6mm of tread). Moreover, over the past five years there have been 5,677 casualties as a result of tyre related incidents, of which 989 people were sadly killed; that’s nearly 200 deaths every year.
Last but not least, if you are caught driving on worn or damaged tyres deemed to be illegal, you could face a fine of up to £2500 (around €2850) and penalty points for each offense.
The tyre safety month is a good opportunity to sensitize your team to the dangers of unsafe/illegal tyres, review your tyre checks procedures or establish a tyre maintenance programme. Safe tyres can really save lives.