However good you think your vehicle is there is one vital area that so often gets overlooked – the tyres. Technology has improved hugely in recent years, but this is to worthless unless we understand the importance of regular tyre safety checks.
Like many other areas as our vehicles get better, more reliable, more durable, we tend to neglect them, checking them less often – which can lead to un-noticed defects.
The evidence is clear; Cardinus has found that one of the most common reasons for a driver training course to be cancelled is when a tyre is found to be illegal and therefore unlikely to be able to do its job.
Unhealthy tyres have consequences
- MOT Failure – A tyre defect that’s unnoticed by the driver is a common cause for a test fail.
- Driving on under-inflated tyres for long periods will increase wear rates significantly, as well as adversely, affecting braking and handling.
- Poor tyres can reduce performance of your car.
- Poor tyres can increase your stopping distance and raise the risk of skidding – putting not only yourself, but other road users in danger.
- Underinflated or worn tyres can increase fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – causing you to spend more money and put your long-term health at serious risk. This release of increased CO2 emissions will be adding to the negative effects of the environment.
Why do we assume that the holder of a driving licence knows how to check tyre condition, defects and tread depth – when so many clearly do not? It is obvious that no-one would choose to knowingly gamble with their own safety.
Many of us are not experts in the field of vehicle tyres – but we can look out for the basic signs.
Warning signs – do you need new vehicle tyres?
- Tread depth – the tread on vehicle tyres should never fall below 1/16 of an inch (1.6 millimetres) in depth.
Tread wear indication bar – newer tires have a convenience that older tires lacked. They have tread wear indicator bars built into the tires themselves. These bars, invisible or barely visible when the tires are new, gradually begin to appear as the tread wears down.
- Cracks in the sidewall – look for tracks or cuts in the sidewall and grooves that are distinct enough to be visible to the naked eye.
- Bulges and blisters – a bulge in vehicle tyres is caused through materials within the sidewall being weakened, which can result in a blow-out. A blow out is when a vehicle tyre ‘explodes’ – which usually results in road users losing control of the vehicle.
- Excess vibration – tyres that are out of balance will cause a vehicle to vibrate at higher speeds (usually around the 50-70mph mark).
Fleet Risk Audit Tool – how can we help?
Here at Cardinus, we provide everything you need to manage your occupational road risk, including support on fleet risk management. It’s is an effective way to reduce your organisation’s occupational road risk. Get your free online risk audit here.
Developing an effective work-related road safety programme includes developing suitable routines and habits of defect checking and reporting, to minimise the use of unsafe vehicles.
Cardinus Fleet have years of experience in helping fleets to develop effective programmes. Talk to us on 01733 426015, use our contact form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us help you manage the risks in your fleet.