Eight million driving on ‘dangerous tyres’

13.04 | 24 May 2018 | | 6 comments

A new campaign has been launched on the back of figures suggesting that more than one in five UK motorists are driving on ‘dangerous tyres’.

The investigation, carried out by Confused.com, involved spot checks of more than 1,000 vehicles in 10 cities across the UK.

21% of vehicles tested – the equivalent of 8m motorists if the findings were replicated across the UK – had at least one tyre with tread below 3mm, the point at which manufacturers recommend a tyre is replaced.

3% – the equivalent of 1.4m motorists – were found to have at least one illegal tyre, falling below the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm.

Of the cities involved in the spot checks, Edinburgh had the highest number of cars with at least one tyre below the recommended tread of 3mm (27%), while Newcastle and Ipswich had the highest proportion of vehicles with at least one illegal tyre (both 5%).

Further research by Confused.com suggests almost one in 20 (4%) of UK drivers have had an accident due to defective tyres.

The price comparison website also found that 61% of motorists don’t know what the minimum legal tread depth is, while 55% don’t know how to check their tyres.

To highlight the potential consequences of driving on bald tyres, Confused.com has launched ‘Bald is Dangerous’ (featured), a tongue-in-cheek video.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says: “It’s worrying to find so many people are driving with baldies. Even though our safety film is tongue-in-cheek, our research shows there is a serious lack of awareness among some motorists.

“Tyre tread ignorance could land offenders with fines of up to £2,500 per tyre, invalidate their insurance or lead to an accident.

“By conducting a few simple checks each month, such as the 20p test, drivers can keep themselves and other motorists safe.”


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    One is more likely to have an accident with low tyre pressure on a motorcycle as its far less stable than a car.

    The usual scenario is a pocket rocket racer out on a fine hot day at weekend and he takes some pressure out of his tyres in the belief that the tyre when run fast [much faster than any speed limit at least] then the heat created by the tyre will increase the pressure in the tyre and that that will make it stable.

    So out he goes and his tyres eventually get warmed up to some degree.. Some time later he stops for lunch for about an hour and then sets of again with the intention of riding home or onward and generally at the same pace at which he first arrived. He has forgotten that his tyres are colder now and on the first set of bends the tyres lose their grip because they are cold low in pressure and the bike gives out from under him and he slides off.

    So the accident was in fact all his fault as he was the author of his own demise. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    Roll on these hot summer days and unfortunately the carnage that it causes to motorcyclists.

    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    On the other hand, drivers can be driving around all day with incorrect tyre pressures and minimal tread, but still not having accidents – as ever it’s the drivers that cause the crashes, not the tyres.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

    Seems from the headline that the authors are indicating that legal Tyres with between 1.6mm and 3mm tread are considered dangerous. Yet more hyped-up attention seeking headlines. Whatever happened to normal language?

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (9) | Disagree (1)

    Agreed but it can go some way to indicate the mental attitude of the driver toward his safety and the safety of others by driving with bald tyres. A matter of which he should have made himself aware of. Just what else has he neglected. It goes to state of mind.

    M.Worthington, Manchester
    Agree (4) | Disagree (2)

    Sounds like a job for the Tyre Industry Safety Council. They used be extremely proactive – have confused.com stolen their area of expertise?

    Bill Smith, GLASGOW
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    An illegal or defective tyre on a crashed vehicle does NOT mean it caused the crash! Too much reliance on Stats 19 again no doubt.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (5) | Disagree (2)

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