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‘DEATH TRAPS’: Cost of living crisis could see motorists favour cheaper part-worn tyres

Updated: Apr 27, 2022

As the cost of living continues to rise, millions of motorists could soon be risking their, and others', safety on the roads by shunning new tyres in favour of cheaper part-worn tyres described by tyre safety experts as ‘death traps’.

Research conducted by the UK’s leading independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, has revealed that nearly 40 per cent of the 1,000 drivers surveyed said they would consider purchasing part-worn tyres in an effort to save money as the financial squeeze tightens. This potentially represents over 14 million motorists out of the 35.9 million drivers in the UK.

Interestingly, Londoners are most likely to purchase part worn tyres, with well over half (55%) of residents of the capital admitting they are considering buying part-worn tyres.

According to TyreSafe, on average, 159 people are killed or seriously injured every year as a result of defective tyre related accidents. An investigation conducted by TyreSafe also discovered that 63 per cent of part-worn tyres were unsafe to return to the road, and 93 per cent were non-compliant.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, commented: “In straitened times, it is little wonder so many drivers hesitate to purchase new tyres, which can cost up to £1,000 for four.

“However, the importance of purchasing high quality tyres cannot be understated. Adequate tread depth is essential for safe driving on wet roads and facilitates effective acceleration, cornering and braking. Conversely, many part-worn tyres deliver longer stopping distances and reduced manoeuvrability, making them potential death traps.

“Therefore, we would urge hard- pressed drivers who are hesitating to purchase new tyres to ask themselves whether the additional cost of new tyres is worth putting yourself, as well as other road users, at risk.

“Drivers should also consider the cost per millimetre of usable tyres, rather than merely the initial purchase price. New tyres are normally sold with around eight millimetres of tread depth, whereas part-worn tyres have as little as two millimetres of tread.”

The survey also revealed that the majority (57 per cent) of respondents stated that they always check their own tyres, while nearly one in three (27.7 per cent) said they ask a friend or relative to check their tyres.

Neil added: “It is encouraging to see that safety conscious drivers are asking somebody else to check for their tyres for them if they do not have the knowledge to do so themselves. If you have bought a second-hand car, you should always check whether the tyres are roadworthy, including whether the tyre meets minimum depth requirements and is free of defects. This way, we can ensure Britain’s roads are as safe as they can be.”


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