It’s Christmas time and that means cars loaded up with family, friends and – of course – luggage and presents.
Chances are there’s also going to be more than one journey for most with some driving further than they would normally. With the weather and driving conditions likely to vary across different parts of the country, that means being prepared for anything and avoiding breakdowns is the key to arriving full of Christmas cheer.
As tyre-related issues are the second most common reason for a call to the breakdown recovery services, TyreSafe is reminding drivers that their Festive journey preparation should begin with a maintenance check before leaving home.
With the unusually heavy load most cars will be hauling, tyre pressure is particularly important. The correct settings are recommended by the vehicle manufacturer who will typically provide two pressures, one of which is specifically for when fully laden. This is found in the handbook, door sill, fuel filler cap or even glove box and should be adjusted with an accurate gauge before travelling more than a couple of miles.
Tread depth is also critically important to ensure the tyre can grip the road in wet and slippery conditions. This should ideally be checked using an accurate tread depth gauge but a 20p piece can be used as a guide by placing it in the main grooves across the tyre and then around its circumference. If at any point you can see the outer border at any time, you should have it checked again by a professional as it may be below the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm.
Not only is that dangerous but if caught by the Police you may also face a fine of up to £2,500 and three-penalty points for each defective tyre.
A tyre’s condition also plays an important role in its roadworthiness. Bulges, cuts, embedded objects and cracking are all signs a tyre may be unfit for use and can typically be readily seen by the driver if inspected properly.
Stuart Jackson, Chairman of TyreSafe, said: “Journeys during the Christmas period can be enjoyable but unexpected delays ruin the fun. There’s not much any of us can do about traffic congestion but we can reduce the risk of interruptions due to poor maintenance of the vehicle, especially tyres. These straightforward, routine checks not only reduce your risks on the road, they save you money and make the need to call a breakdown recovery service less likely.
“TyreSafe wishes all drivers a safe Christmas and New Year.”
For more information on tyre safety visit tyresafe.org