Over a quarter (26%) of Manchester motorists are driving on dangerous tyres, according to a new study.
The investigation by Confused.com, the driver savings site, involved spot checks of more than 1,000 vehicles in 10 cities around the country. In Manchester, 26% of vehicles tested had at least one tyre below 3mm tread depth – over a quarter – while 4% had at least one tyre below the legal limit of 1.6mm.
On a national level, a fifth of vehicles checked ,the equivalent of eight million motorists – had at least one tyre with tread below 3mm, which is the point at which major manufactures recommend you change your tyres.
A total of 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. Not only does this significantly increase the chance of accidents, but motorists also risk three penalty points and a fine of £2,500 per tyre.
But worryingly, additional research showed that three fifths of motorists don’t know what the minimum legal tread depth is, and more than half don’t know how to check their tyres, to avoid landing themselves in this situation.
To drive home the importance of checking tyres to avoid these fines or an accident, Confused.com has launched a ‘Bald is Dangerous’ safety film. The tongue-in-cheek campaign video highlights just how devastating the consequences of driving on bald tyres can be.
The investigation highlights that some areas of the UK are risking going bald more so than others. Of the cities involved in the spot checks, vehicles in Edinburgh were found to have the highest number of cars with at least one tyre below the recommended tread of of 3mm (27%), compared to the national average of 21%), while cars in Newcastle and Ipswich had the highest proportion of vehicles with at least one illegal tyre (both 5%, compared to the national average of 3%).
And it seems UK drivers have experienced first-hand just how dangerous driving on bald tyres can be. According to further research by the driver savings site, almost one in 20 (4%) UK drivers have had an accident due to defective tyres – almost a tenth (8%) of which happened this year ,and a further one in seven in 2017.
The issue could be due to the significant number of drivers who don’t know how to conduct tyre checks, or what guidelines suggest. But it isn’t just knowing how to change a tyre that could catch drivers out.
In fact, drivers should consider rotating their tyres every 6,000 miles because those at the front wear out faster than those at the back, and this could be key to keeping tyres from balding too quickly.
But drivers’ lack of knowledge on changing tyres has left them vulnerable and at risk of accidents. Although what’s more worrying is that more than one in 10 motorists (11%) have never had the tyres checked of their car. Furthermore, among those who have had their tyres checked, many will only do so when they receive an MOT, rather than conduct the checks themselves (16%).