The shocking consequences and high cost of tyre failures have been revealed in a series of new CCTV clips unveiled by the Highways Agency and TyreSafe as part of October’s tyre safety month.
In the most dramatic clip, motorway cameras capture the moment a tyre fails on the front of an HGV, sending it uncontrollably into the central reservation causing chaos and extensive damage.
“Many people incorrectly assume that if their tyre fails, they’ll simply pull onto safety of the hard shoulder,” explains Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe.
“However, as this startling clip shows, when a tyre fails, the results can be dramatic, beyond control and incredibly frightening. The clips really do emphasise why it’s important to check your tyres regularly.”
As well as showing the dangers to drivers of a tyre failure, another clip shows how Highways Agency officers have to close all three lanes of a motorway to retrieve debris from another tyre failure. The final CCTV clip highlights the financial cost of a tyre failure after a truck catches fire following a tyre failure, leading to a full motorway closure for many hours at a cost of several million pounds.
Tyre related problems are a major cause for concern on the UK’s roads. More than 15,000 breakdowns per year on English motorways are tyre related and the Highways Agency’s incident logs show that between April and June 2013, 3,852 breakdowns on its network were tyre related, with almost 30 per cent of these having an impact on live traffic lanes.
However, despite the numerous incidents TyreSafe is advising that many problems can be easily avoided by regular tyre checks. As well as checking that tyres are inflated to the correct pressure at least once a month, tread depths should also be checked to ensure they meet the legal minimum standards and tyres should be inspected for any cuts, lumps or bulges in the sidewall.
While TyreSafe has developed a suite of online materials to help drivers carry out these inspections, thousands of tyre dealers across the UK are offering free tyre safety checks as part of October’s tyre safety month.
Highways Agency traffic management director Simon Sheldon-Wilson says, “By taking a few minutes to check your tyres, you could save yourself the distress, cost and possibly very serious consequences of having a tyre blow-out at high speed. A tyre failure can happen suddenly in fast-moving traffic, putting everyone at increased risk.
“Tyre debris in live lanes can cause danger for others, and our staff have to stop traffic and cross the carriageway to retrieve it.”