Road safety charity, Brake on the importance of tyre safety

Brake Tyre Safety

Road safety charity, Brake warns drivers and operators of the dangers of poor tyre maintenance


Making sure your vehicles are as safe as possible is vital to staying safe on the road. This is especially true for fleets of professional drivers who transport passengers for a living; ensuring passengers arrive at their destination safely is paramount. If safety critical parts of your vehicles are not kept in good repair crash risk is increased; vehicle defects contributed to 2,000 crashes in 2013 in the UK, 42 of them causing deaths. [1]

Vehicle defects put your drivers, your passengers, and other road users at risk. If defects aren’t dealt with promptly and properly they can also be financially costly.

The most common vehicle defect contributing to fatal crashes is illegal, defective, or under-inflated tyres.[2] However, keeping your tyres in good condition is actually really easy to do. Here are our top tips on tyre safety:


  • Check your tyre tread wear.Look out for tread wear indicator bars on tyres – small bumps in the main grooves which indicate the minimum tread. Change your tyres well before your tread gets to the legal minimum of 1.6mm. Brake recommends replacing tyres when the depth reaches 3mm, as tyres with less than this can be dangerous in wet conditions. If you drive with tyres worn down to below the legal limit, you could face three penalty points and a £2,500 fine, or it could cause a deadly crash.
  • Check your tyre pressure. Buy a hand-held tyre pressure gauge and check the pressure weekly, when the tyres are cold. The correct pressure will be written in your vehicle’s handbook.
  • Check your general tyre condition. Check for cracks, bulges or bubbles on the sides of your tyres. These are signs that the tyre is damaged and at risk of blowing out. If you see any of these, get the tyre checked by a professional, and replaced if necessary.


Driving with under-inflated tyres can result in reduced steering control, longer stopping distances, increased risk of skidding on wet roads, greater fuel consumption, and more wear to the tyres[3]. Over-inflated tyres are more susceptible to damage, and will wear more quickly in the middle[4]. Driving when the tread depth on your tyres has worn down is also dangerous, as it can significantly increase stopping distances.

You also need to be aware that tyres can age even when not in use, as the rubber deteriorates over time and can become brittle and cracked. It is best to have your tyres inspected at least annually once they are more than five years old, and to replace all tyres (including spares) before they are ten years old.[5]

Checking tyres as part of walk around checks is a really quick and easy thing to do, and by taking the time to check tyres you can help to ensure the safety of your vehicle, your passengers, and other road users.



[1] Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2013, Department for Transport, 2014

[2]  Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2013, Department for Transport, 2014

[3] Care guide: tyre pressures, Michelin, undated

[4]  Air Pressure – Correct, Underinflated and Overinflated,, undated

[5] When should I change my tyres? Michelin, undated

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