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Dated: 05 July 2010

Avoid Summer Holiday Travel Blues


July already... it doesn’t seem that long ago that the motorists of Britain were being forced to abandon their vehicles at the side of the road due to the adverse winter weather. It’s quite easy to forget those dire times now that the sun – in most parts of the country – has been shining for the last few weeks.
Despite the improvement in weather, tyre safety is no less important. It is the responsibility of every driver to ensure that before setting off on a long journey, they perform a number of safety checks on their tyres. If not, the consequences can – potentially – be very dangerous.

Perhaps two of the most important checks to make are to the tread depth and air pressure levels of your tyres.

By law the minimum tread depth of a tyre must be 1.6mm (in the UK) at the very least. Despite this being the law, it is highly advised that motorists buy new tyres once the tread depth is below 3mm. Tests have proven that once a tyre’s tread gets below 3mm handling, braking distances and overall drive comfort is greatly reduced.

Checking your tyre pressure is also a major safety issue. Having under-inflated tyres can cause an increase in friction with the road. This in turn heats up the tyre, which can cause a tyre to blow out whilst driving. If you are lucky and your tyres do not fail, you will still be spending more money on fuel as the rolling resistance of the tyre is greatly increased with low air pressure.

When checking the air pressure, it is best to test the tyres when they are cool (the friction from driving causes the tyres to expand making any readings inaccurate). If possible it is best to wait an hour after driving. A good tip is to visit a supermarket – almost all petrol stations at a supermarket have tyre pressure gauges. So, whilst you do your shopping, your tyre plenty of time to cool down from the drive.

If you ensure that you carry out these basic checks before heading off on a long drive, your journey should be completed without any problems – well, no tyre related problems at least - these won’t help with the traffic jams unfortunately!

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