While many youngsters (and some young-at-heart adults) will be dreaming of a white Christmas, it’s not just these extreme driving conditions that car owners will need to treat with caution because damp roads can be just as hazardous, particularly if tyres are left unchecked.
Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe, said: “Attention is turning towards Christmas and all the excitement that brings but it doesn’t mean we should forget what is really important in life – protecting the ones we love.
“Just a few simple tyre checks can make all the difference to staying safe on our roads. This is especially critical when driving in winter, including cold and damp conditions which often seem innocuous yet can be particularly perilous.”
Among the key inspections drivers are being encouraged to carry out are checking tyres have the correct air pressure, ensuring tyres have adequate tread depth and visually inspecting the overall state of the tyres.
Correct air pressure is particularly crucial for safe driving as tyres that are underinflated can affect handling and grip, potentially altering the car’s behaviour on the road.
Of particular importance at this time of year, motorists using their cars to transport additional loads, such as presents or passengers, must make sure their tyre pressures are correctly adjusted for the fully laden vehicle state. Details of the correct pressures can be found in the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook, inside the fuel filler cap or on the driver’s door sill.
Just as critical is ensuring tyres have adequate tread depth to cope with anywet conditions. Tyres without enough tread face an increased risk of aquaplaning, less grip and longer stopping distances as the tyre’s ability to grip the road surface is reduced.
Tread depth can be checked by using a 20p coin. Drivers simply need to insert the coin into the main grooves of the tyre. If the outer band of the 20p is visible when inserted, then the tyre may not have sufficient depth and should be checked by a qualified specialist.
A visual inspection of the tyre is also needed to check its overall condition. Any objects which have become embedded in the tread should be removed. If any cuts, lumps or bulges are found, drivers should get a professional to check the tyres immediately.
“If you’re driving home for Christmas, then check your tyres beforehand to reduce the risk of being in a tyre related accident,” added Jackson.
For more information about TyreSafe and tyre safety, visit www.tyresafe.org.