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Tyre safety key to motorway progress

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Motorists are being advised to keep their tyres in check after a total of 3,852 tyre-related incidents were reported on England’s motorways between April and the end of June 2013  – an average of 1,284 per month.

Many motorists will often put off tyre repairs to save on costs. But it is actually cheaper to replace worn or damaged tyres where necessary, rather than waiting to face a burst tyre and having to be towed off the motorway.

As part of their motorway month campaign, the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) is offering the following advice for motorists:

  • P – Performance. You can monitor the state of your tyres through observation of the performance of your vehicle; grip, handling and fuel economy will all be improved with correct tyre care.
  • A – Air pressure. It is essential that you check your tyre pressures on a regular basis for maximum performance. Low tyre pressure can cause increased fuel consumption as well as making them more susceptible to damage.
  • C – Condition. Inspect tyres for any cuts, bulges, uneven wear or objects embedded in the tread.
  • T – Tread depth. Monitoring your tyres’ tread is essential for safety, particularly on wet roads. Check that your tread depth is not below the legal minimum of 1.6mm, although it is worth considering getting them replaced if they are below 3mm.

Peter Rodger, chief examiner at the IAM, said: “Regular tyre checks are the best way to keep on top of maintenance and avoid those nasty surprises both to your vehicle and to your wallet.”

"But one day you could become one of the thousands unlucky enough to experience a tyre-related breakdown, so having a dry-run of changing your tyre at home can prove very useful and will mean you needn’t rely so heavily on breakdown services, getting you back on the road quicker.”

Incidents contribute to delays which cost the economy billions of pounds each year.

According to the Highways Agency’s national satisfaction survey, carried out between April 2012 and the end of March 2013, only 53% of respondents say they regularly check their tyre pressure.

Stuart Lovatt from the Highways Agency said: “Nobody wants to start their holiday off by having a breakdown that leads to them having to extend their journey time.

"By checking that tyres are still in good condition, drivers are helping to avoid incidents and the risk of delays, not only to their own journey but to those of other drivers.” 

If you are carrying heavy loads, you will need to increase the air pressure in your car tyres to compensate. You can find the correct tyre pressures for heavy loads in your car’s handbook.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, said: “Before setting off on their summer holidays, it’s essential that drivers give their tyres a thorough inspection.

"It’s particularly important to ensure tyres are correctly inflated in line with the vehicle manufacturer’s settings, which may be different if extra passengers or heavy luggage is being carried.

"But remember to readjust your tyre pressures when you start to using your car normally again.”

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