Home In focus Look after your tyres and they’ll look after you

Look after your tyres and they’ll look after you

by Laura Johnston

Knowsley Council’s Road Safety team is supporting Tyre Safety Month during October 2017 and has been working with the Safer Roads team from Merseyside Police to crack down on drivers using illegal tyres.

During a recent operation, drivers who were found to have been using illegal tyres were issued with a ticket. However, they were given the opportunity to buy new tyres and return within a given timescale to get their ticket cancelled.  It wasn’t just tyre safety the team tackled during the operation; the team discussed all aspects of road safety with drivers, including correctly using seatbelts and child car seats, speed and the dangers of using mobile phones while driving.

Tyres are the only parts of the car that are in contact with the road. Safety in braking, steering, accelerating and cornering depends on this small area of road contact so keeping your tyres safe is a priority that comes with owning a vehicle.


How I can keep my tyres safe?

Make sure they are correctly inflated

Did you know that as many as 57% of car and van tyres on the road are underinflated? This is dangerous as vehicles with underinflated tyres can become more difficult to control and can take longer to stop. Overinflated tyres are dangerous as well, as it causes a reduced area of contact with the road and makes the tyres more likely to get damaged.

You should always ensure your tyres are inflated in line with your vehicle manufacturers’ recommendations and check them while they’re cold.  Tyres should be checked weekly if possible but at least once a month and always before a long journey. You can do this with a reliable and accurate pressure gauge.

Make sure they have the correct tread depth

Tyre treads help your tyres drive safely in wet conditions as the tread grooves remove water from the contact patch between tyres and the road surface so your car can brake, steer and accelerate properly.

You should ensure that the tread depth of your tyres is above the minimum limit of 1.6mm throughout a continuous band comprising the central three-quarters of breadth of the tread and around its entire outer circumference.

A quick and easy way to check if your tyre tread depth exceeds the minimum legal tread depth is to simply place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyres. You will know if your tyre is illegal and unsafe to use if the outer band of the coin is visible. If it is, you should get it checked by a qualified tyre professional. Check at least three locations around each tyre and to stay safe, check at least once a month.

Make sure they are in good condition

It is important to check that your tyres are roadworthy at all times, meaning they do not have any cuts, bumps or bulges. Any lumps or bulges must be examined by a tyre specialist as it could mean there is some internal damage. You should wipe away any oil or grease you find with a suitable diluted detergent.


For more information about Tyre Safety Month 2017 and about tyre safety, visit the Tyre Safe website.

You can also pick up free leaflets from public buildings across Knowsley and request a tyre tread keyring by emailing the council’s Road Safety team on roadsafety@knowsley.gov.uk