• 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 have longer stopping distances and less 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)

  • Over the 5 year period from 2012 to 2016, 96 people were killed in accidents in which the police judged the condition of tyres to be a contributory factor. (RRCGB, DfT, 2017)

  • In 2012/13:

  • 3.5% of motorcycles either failed their MoT due to a tyre or wheel fault, or passed their MoT after a fault with the tyres or wheels was corrected. This figure appears to have remained fairly consistent over time.

  • 7.7% of cars and passenger vehicles with less than 12 seats failed the MoT test on their first attempt due to a fault with the tyre, or passed their MoT after a fault with the tyres or wheels was corrected. This proportion appears to have decreased since 2007/08.

  • There was a lower failure rate for passenger vehicles with more than 12 seats of 3.8%, a rate which has been consistently since 2007/08.

  • 7.2% of goods vehicles weighing between 3,000 and 3,500kg failed the MoT test, or passed their MoT after a fault with the tyres or wheels was corrected, due to a failure with the tyres. This rate has fallen slightly since 2007/08.

  • Lower tyre tread depths increase stopping distances in wet conditions on both asphalt and concrete surfaces. On a hot rolled asphalt surface, stopping distance from 80 kph increased from 23.89 metres for a car with 6.7mm tyre tread depth to 36.56 metres for a car with 0.9mm tread depth.

  • On a smooth concrete surface, the stopping distance increased from 28.81 metres for a car with 6.7mm tyre tread depth to 49.08 metres for a car with 0.9mm tread depth

  • Regular tyre pressure checks have been associated with reduced odds of being seriously injured in a crash. In one study, drivers who had recently checked their tyre pressures were less 4 times less likely to be involved 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 pressue 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

  • The literature search did not identify any published research studies about the effects of tyre aging, mixing tyre types or using run-flat tyres on crash risk.


  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012, 08:17 AM
  • Last Update: 12 Jan 2018, 11:46 AM