Stay safe on your tyres
October is Tyre Safety Month and NFU Mutual, the UK's leading rural insurer, is urging motorists to check the pressure, tread and condition of the tyres on their vehicles to ensure they stay safe and legal.
Jo Oliver, agent at the Bath office of NFU Mutual comments: ""At NFU Mutual we are committed to supporting the local community, which is why we are urging all motorists in the Bath area to check their tyres as winter approaches.
"Damaged, perished and incorrectly inflated tyres can lead to punctures and blow-outs, which can be extremely frightening and can leave the driver of the vehicle struggling to regain control," she concludes.
Figures recently released by the Department for Transport, revealed that, in 2011, 205 people were killed or seriously injured in an accident where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor.
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A further 1,383 people were killed or seriously injured in an accident where slippery road conditions as a result of the weather were a contributory factor.
"Tyres are the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road so it's important to make sure they are safe and legal. Winter weather can produce challenging road conditions, particularly in rural areas: so, whether you drive a family car, a horsebox or commercial vehicle, it's important to make sure your tyres and your vehicle are ready for winter," Jo explains.
Of particular concern are vehicles which are used infrequently, such as horseboxes and trailers.
In a recent survey undertaken with The British Horse Society, PRP Equine Rescue and SV Tech as part of its ongoing safety campaign, NFU Mutual revealed that 54 per cent of respondents said that they had been involved in an accident or broken down or with their horsebox or trailer as a result of tyre-related problems, with punctures and blow-outs being the most common reasons for tyre failure.
So far, the safety campaign has highlighted a number of problems with tyres fitted to horseboxes and trailers. "People will often fit car tyres on their trailers to save money without realising that they are not designed to carry the weight of the horses," Jo explains.
"Tyres which are old, damaged, worn or incorrectly inflated will fail at some point: at best this will result in a breakdown and, at worst, tyre failure can lead to serious accidents."
â The message is simple - make a PACT to check the tyres on your vehicle and stay safe.
â Pressure – check ALL tyres when they are cold and before every journey. Correct tyre pressure is vital for safety.
â Avoid – overloading your vehicle. Overloaded it's less stable, takes longer to stop and is more difficult to steer. Overloading can cause overheated tyres, rapid wear and increases chances of a blow out.
â Condition – check your tyres regularly especially if they have not been used for some time. Look for cracking, crazing, bulging.
â Tread depth – check this regularly. Up to 3.5 tonnes the minimum legal depth is 1.6mm. For vehicles above this weight is it 1 mm.
To help motorists check their tyres, NFU Mutual is giving away 100 tyre tread gauges to readers of The Bath Chronicle.
All you have to do is email your name and address to Kelly_swatton@nfumutual.co.uk.