Drivers are being urged to carry out some basic safety checks by measuring the tyre tread depth of their vehicles, after research revealed 20% have never actually carried out this maintenance task.

The message has come from UK charity TyreSafe, as a part of their Tyre Safety Month campaign that has been running throughout October.

The charity explained “the legal minimum tread depth for cars in the UK is 1.6mm throughout a continuous band comprising the central three-quarters of breadth of the tread and around its entire outer circumference”.

The encouragement to check tyre tread depth follows on from the National Highways warning issued earlier this year, where they urged drivers to check their caravans after research from the DVSA revealed 50% of light trailers were failing to meet the necessary road safety standards.

Lacking the legal tyre tread depth will make braking and steering harder, impairing safety on the road. You could also find yourself facing a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points – per tyre.

TyreSafe is now recommending drivers check their tyres at least once a month, as well as prior to any long trips. 

Checking the tread depth is actually a relatively simple task – simply place a 20p coin in the grooves around your tyres at several spots around the circumference and repeat this across the width too. If you can see the rim of the coin at any point, the tread depth could be illegal and should be looked over by a professional. 

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe Chair, said: “The alarming statistics about drivers checking the tread on their tyres further signifies the importance of these campaigns, not just during October but year-round. It only takes a few moments to perform essential tyre checks each month, and as the winter months approach, adequate grip is a vital component in vehicle handling and braking, especially in the wet.”

TyreSafe is also running the What’s Stopping You? campaign this month too, with the goal of reminding motorists that their tyres are the only thing between the road and vehicle, and to highlight the crucial role they play when it comes to braking and cornering.

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