Key Facts:

  • Tyres are the vehicle's only point of contact with the road. The actual area of contact between the car and the road through the tyres is small.

  • Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s specification for the purpose for which the vehicle is being used, and be free from cuts and other defects.

  • Tyres on cars, light vans and light trailers must have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm across the centre three-quarters of the tyre and around its entire circumference. For motorcycles, large vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles, the minimum tread depth is 1mm. Mopeds should have visible tread.

  • The condition of a vehicle’s tyres is an important safety factor: tyres with insufficient tread depth may affect stopping distances and grip on the road. Incorrect tyre pressures can affect braking and steering and may cause premature tyre failure. Damaged tyres are more likely to suffer punctures or blow-outs.

  • In 2016, 8 people were killed, 150 seriously injured and there were 876 road casualties in total in reported road accidents in Great Britain in which illegal, defective or under inflated tyres were recorded as a contributory factor by the police officers investigating the scene. (RRCGB, DfT, 2017)

  • In 2012/13, 7.7% of cars, 3.8% of large passenger vehicles, and 7.2% of goods vehicles failed the MoT test due to a fault with their tyres, or only passed the test after a tyre defect was rectified. Also, 3.5% of motorcycles failed the MoT test due to a fault with their tyres or wheels, or only passed the test after a tyre or wheel defect was rectified.

  • Lower tyre tread depths increase stopping distances in wet conditions on both asphalt and concrete surfaces.

  • Regular tyre pressure checks have been associated with reducing the likelihood of being seriously injured in a crash

  • In Scandinavian countries, studded tyres resulted in minor declines in automobile accident rates of 5% on snow or ice covered roads, 2% on dry and wet roads, and 4% on all road surfaces combined. They are not normally legal to use in the UK.

  • Tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are an electronic system to monitor the air pressure inside tyres and alert the driver if the pressure falls below a pre-set parameter.

  • Under European Union Regulation (EC) 661/2009 all new models of passenger cars must be fitted with a tyre pressure monitoring system from 1 November 2012, and all new vehicles in the European Union must be fitted with tyre pressure monitoring system from 1 November 2014.

  • No research was found which compared accident rates between vehicles with and without central European winter tyres


  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012, 08:17 AM
  • Last Update: 12 Jan 2018, 11:45 AM