Road safety body, GEM Motoring Assist, is supporting Tyre Safety Month with some simple safety reminders. GEM advises that grip on wet surfaces reduces as a tyre gets older, or as water depth increases, and the safest course of action is to reduce speed in wet weather.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth commented: “Tyre treads are designed to give the best possible grip on wet roads. However, levels of grip generally decrease as a tyre gets older and its tread patterns wear down or as the depth of water increases. We urge drivers to take this into consideration and reduce their speed accordingly in wet conditions.”
Regular checks on tyre tread depth are vital for safe driving, according to Neil Worth. “A car’s tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre, all the way around. Few drivers have a tyre gauge to hand, so instead GEM suggests using the 20p test.”
20 Pence Test
The outer band of a 20p coin measures exactly 1.6mm, “so place the coin between the grooves of your tyre and if the outer band is visible then your tyres need changing,” adds Neil Worth.
“Tyre tread grooves are vital in wet weather to assist in removing water from the area where your tyres are in contact with the road. Lack of tread depth compromises your ability to brake, steer and accelerate effectively, so your risk of aquaplaning and crashing increases.”
“It’s not just a good idea to have adequate tyre tread,” concludes Neil Worth. “It’s the law. Drivers whose tyres fail to comply with the minimum tread depth requirements risk a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.”