I love travelling by car. I love the convenience aspect, the comfort aspect, and the flexibility that being in control of your journey brings. Quite often we venture into Scotland and Wales as well as driving all around the country. You can say that we really know a thing or two about driving and definitely have learnt a thing or two about how important car safety is.
Car safety entails a wide array of things – from the simple things like making sure you have enough screen wash to ensuring that your tyres are in tip-top shape. Throughout my life, I have travelled by road many times and during the early days of those solo trips in America, I made many mistakes that could have cost me points on my license or worse yet, my life.
There are many dangers to having worn out tyres, so along with tyre specialists TyrePlus and their #tyreknowledge campaign I share with you the ones that I have personally encountered in the hopes that none of you makes the same stupid mistakes I did.
If you’ve ever been on the road and heard that dreadful pop then you can definitely feel my pain. Before purchasing our Fiat 500L we used to have a small little Nissan Micra which we drove from coast to coast without much thought. On one occasion we were on our way to Lancashire from Cambridgeshire very early in the morning when we heard a pop.
After the ordeal of waiting for rescue, etc we were told that the culprit was a worn out tyre. We were discouraged from making such a long trip before sorting out the tyres and it was explained to us that since our tyres were so worn out of the tread that normally exists to help shield a tyre from punctures was virtually non-existent. A simple road hazard like a sharp object was exponentially magnified driving on tyres that had no tread.
The legal requirement is 1.6mm tyre tread but even then that’s considered a minimum. The recommendation by safety experts is that you should change your tyres if you get below 3mm.
If you want to avoid any negative encounters with the police you tend to be mindful of the rules of the road. One of those rules is that your tyres have to be in tip-top shape. A lot of people think that the only tyre rule they need to follow is to ensure their tyres are properly inflated, but having worn out tyres is a huge no-no.
You can be in danger of receiving a minimum 3 penalty points, which can, in turn, lead to a loss of license. Add to that a £2,500 fine per tyre and you’ll see why it’s not worth taking the risk.
One thing we can’t escape in the UK is the rain. Sure, it may lead to frizzy hair and the inconvenience of dull days, but another very important aspect it can lead to if you have worn out car tyres is aquaplaning. The tread on your tyres essentially works as grips on the road. If the tread is worn down then there is essentially no grip. If your car encounters rain on the road it can easily get rid of it by using the tread and its grooves to disperse the water from under the tyre.
Aquaplaning occurs when there is not enough grip to disperse the water and it accumulates beneath your tyre, slightly lifting it, and causing you to lose control of your vehicle. I’ve only experienced very mild aquaplaning but it is a frightening wake-up call to get your tyres sorted out.
We usually only think of our cars tyre pressure when it is visibly low. The reality is that not only do under-inflated tyres cause issues, but over-inflated tyres also do too.
Under-Inflated Tyres can cause:
- increased wear around the edges of the rubber
- excess strain on the tyre walls, increasing wear and tear
- raised rolling resistance which leads to higher fuel consumption
Over-Inflated Tyres can cause:
- tyres to wear out more quickly across the centre of the tread
- a bumpier, more uncomfortable ride
- less tread to be in contact with the road making braking and handling more difficult
Now that you know how simple it is to keep on top of the maintenance of your tyres I hope you heed my advice. It’s better to be safe than sorry and not only can you save yourself money and points on your license but you may even be able to save your life.