Campbeltown Courier - - WINTER MOTORING -

TYRESAFE is re­mind­ing all drivers to en­sure they’re keep­ing their road risks to a min­i­mum by prac­tis­ing #SafeTyreChecks. Novem­ber is typ­i­cally cold and wet and co­in­cides with the on­set of chill­ier weather, a com­bi­na­tion which places high de­mands on the only safety fea­ture of a ve­hi­cle which is in touch with the roads – its tyres. Most drivers are un­aware that each tyre’s ‘foot­print’ is about the same size as an adult’s palm and, with so much lit­er­ally rid­ing on them, it’s es­sen­tial to check they are in op­ti­mal con­di­tion. ‘Drivers need to remember that brakes, steer­ing and all ad­vanced safety sys­tems de­signed to help avoid ac­ci­dents de­pend on the ve­hi­cle hav­ing a sure foot­ing on the road – in other words, their tyres need to be in good con­di­tion,’ said Stu­art Jack­son, chair­man of TyreSafe. ‘As we’re now fac­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of cold and wet days, to stay safe we need to be even more at­ten­tive to tyre main­te­nance. ‘Air pres­sure, con­di­tion and tread depth must be checked reg­u­larly, espe­cially if you’re planning a break us­ing a car laden with your most prized pos­ses­sions – your fam­ily.’ Many drivers are aware that rec­om­mended tyre pres­sures for a ve­hi­cle vary to suit the weight of the load it is car­ry­ing, but far too many are com­pla­cent and don’t take the time to make this im­por­tant ad­just­ment be­fore they set off with their fam­i­lies. Typ­i­cally, the un­laden and laden pres­sures are on a plaque ei­ther in­side the fuel filler flap or in the door, but they are sure to be found in the hand­book. In­cor­rect pres­sures not only in­crease wear and de­crease fuel ef­fi­ciency but also make the tyre more vul­ner­a­ble to sud­den de­fla­tion. A tyre’s tread depth is a par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant fac­tor in cold and wet con­di­tions as the more worn it be­comes, the longer your car will take to stop. Check­ing is easy and takes just a few min­utes us­ing the 20p test as the outer band of a 20p piece is 1.6mm, which is the min­i­mum le­gal tread depth. To check how close you are to that limit, place the 20p in the main grooves in the cen­tre sec­tion of your tyre: if you can’t see the outer band above the tread, then check at two other points across the width and re­peat at two more places fur­ther round the cir­cum­fer­ence. If you can see the 20p’s outer band at any point or are un­sure, you need to get the tyres checked by a pro­fes­sional as the tyre maybe il­le­gal and dan­ger­ous. If you find some­thing in the grooves, like a stone, re­move it if you are able to do so. While you’re check­ing the tread depth, you should also en­sure the tyres are in good con­di­tion, look­ing out for cracks, lumps, bumps or em­bed­ded ob­jects. Tyre man­u­fac­tur­ers don’t pro­duce tyres with bulges or screws in them, so if you see any­thing sus­pi­ciously out of the or­di­nary, get it checked by a pro­fes­sional. TyreSafe rec­om­mends these checks are done at least once a month and be­fore long jour­neys.

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