Many drivers are putting their lives and those of others in grave danger by failing to properly maintain their tyres, the road safety organisation TyreSafe has warned.
The message has been delivered after TyreSafe published photos taken during routine maintenance on a high performance BMW 3-series, which had tyres so worn out that none of the tread pattern remained.
Not only did this make it virtually useless in the wet, but the wear was so great on one shoulder of the tyre that it had started to destroy the integrity of the tyre carcass; something that could have had potentially fatal consequences at high speed.
Under current UK road laws, all drivers must ensure there is at least 1.6mm of tread across the central three-quarters of the tyre around its entire circumference.
Anyone found to be in breach of this can face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre, and many are, with more than 170 drivers per week successfully being prosecuted in court for driving on defective tyres.
This makes it all the more surprising that people are still running the risk, particularly to the extent exhibited by the BMW 3-series owner, explained Stuart Jackson, chairman at TyreSafe.
"This particular tyre was an accident waiting to happen. Adequate tread depth is essential all year round, but particularly important just now when we are experiencing so much rain and difficult driving conditions," he said.
Checking your tyre tread depth is not only simple, but only takes a few minutes, and is something that all drivers should do at least once a month to stay safe and legal, Mr Jackson advised.
With the UK currently experiencing a spate of wet weather, it is especially important that all vehicles have sufficient tread depth, which can greatly reduce stopping distance while increasing traction on slippery surfaces.
One effective way of determining the need for new tyres is the 20p test, which involves inserting a 20p coin into the main grooves of a tyre; if the outer band of the 20p coin is visible when inserted into the groove, then the tread is too low and needs to be inspected by a qualified tyre professional immediately.
Mr Jackson concluded: "If you’re in any doubt then pop into your local tyre specialist, who I’m sure would be delighted to check things for you."