October sees the return of Tyre Safety Month, and officers from Northamptonshire Police will be getting behind the annual campaign which encourages road users to regularly check their tyres.
Organised by charity TyreSafe, the campaign raises awareness of the importance of tyre maintenance in a bid to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured as a result of tyre-related incidents on the UK’s roads.
According to research, one in five UK drivers have never checked their tyres’ tread, while it is just one in three among younger road users. This is despite the fact that every year 170 people are killed or seriously injured in tyre-related incidents.
Throughout the month, TyreSafe will be encouraging all road users to adopt good tyre safety habits, highlighting the importance of checking their tyres’ condition, tread depth and pressure on a monthly basis, and before long journeys.
The Safer Roads and Road Crime Teams, supported by colleagues from the wider Force, will be backing the tyre safety initiative as part of Northamptonshire Police’s road safety campaign – Operation Journey.
As part of the awareness month, officers will be setting up roadside checkpoints across the county, stopping motorists at random to inspect the condition of their vehicle’s tyres.
Officers will also be focusing on the condition of vehicle’s tyres during routine stops as well as sharing regular tyre safety messaging on the Force’s dedicated social media pages throughout October.
Although the campaign will be raising awareness through education, anyone found to be driving with illegal tyres could face three penalty points on their licence, and a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre.
PC Dave Lee, of the Northamptonshire Police Safer Roads Team, said: “As a Force, one of our key policing priorities is to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads.
“Working with our partners from the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance, this campaign provides us with another opportunity to focus on this, and highlight the importance of tyre safety.
“We cannot stress enough just how important it is to regularly check the condition of your tyres. Any wear, damage or deflation could seriously affect things such as braking and handling.
“If your tyres are not properly maintained or they are unsafe, they could contribute towards a collision, ultimately putting your life, and that of others, at unnecessary risk on the roads.”
Driving without the correct amount of air in tyres makes a vehicle more difficult to control and reduces the amount of grip it has on the road. It also increases fuel bills, tyre wear and the risk of being involved in an incident.
Lumps, bumps, cracks and cuts are a sign your tyre may be dangerous and needs replacing. All tyres should have a tread depth above the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm to ensure the tyre remains in contact with the road in the wet.
As part of your routine tyre checks, road users are advised of the following:
• The 20p test is a quick way to check tread depth – place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves at three points across the tyre then repeat around its circumference. If the outer band of the coin is visible, the tyres may be unsafe or illegal and should be checked by a tyre professional
• Most manufacturers display a vehicle’s correct tyre pressures inside the filler cap or driver’s door pillar as well as in the owner’s manual. Different figures are given for normal loads and when fully laden
• While you’re checking pressures, look at the tyre’s condition. If you see any lumps, bumps or objects stuck in your tyre, you need to get the tyre inspected. If objects like stones are wedged in the tread, remove them if you can