If you’re planning to head off on tour soon, it could be worth checking your caravan’s tyres first.

The advice has been issued by Highways England as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) revealed that 50% of light trailers are failing to meet the necessary road safety standards. 29% were not even roadworthy due to dangerous defects.

A caravan’s tyre depth must have the same minimum legal tread depth as the towing vehicle – this is 1.6mm for private and 1mm for commercial. 

A parked car and caravan.

Jeremy Phillips, Highways England Head of Road User Safety, said: “Caravans and trailers are subject to the same safety standards as the majority of motor vehicles – so it is absolutely as important that the same checks are carried out. With staycations and day trips on the rise this summer after 16 months of Covid-19 restrictions, we expect caravan and trailer use will increase too.”

“Driving with poor tyre pressure and tread is, put simply, unsafe. It increases braking distance and makes steering more difficult, putting drivers and other road users at more risk. Following simple steps can help to dramatically reduce the chances of a breakdown – especially when more than 46,000 breakdowns in 2019 were caused by poor maintenance alone.”

To make sure your tyres are within the legal limits, Highways England is offering the following advice:

Check your tyre pressure

You can check your tyre pressure with an air machine at a fuel and service station forecourt. This can be pre-set to match your vehicle’s recommended tyre pressure. Most machines indicate when your tyre is at the right pressure and can also automatically add and remove air.

If you’re not sure what your vehicle’s recommended tyre pressure is, you should be able to find it inside the driver’s door or the petrol cap. Alternatively, check the vehicle manual or look online.

Check your tyre’s tread depth

As previously mentioned, you are legally required to have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm for a privately-owned vehicle. You can use a measure to test the minimum tread depth. Alternatively, the depth can be checked by placing a 20p coin in multiple places along the tyre’s tread. If you’re able to see the outer rim, your tyre will probably be illegal and will have to be replaced before you set off.

The advice has been offered as part of a recent Highway’s England campaign looking to educate drivers on tyre safety. 

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