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6 Aug 2009

Your tyres – it’s easy to take them for granted, but they keep you on the road. Literally. Tyre damage, a puncture, or some other sudden failure of those all-important rubber shields can result in a serious or even fatal crash.


And yet, when cash is tight and business is pressing, it’s all too easy to keep on driving and put off those basic checks and that vital maintenance a few more days or another week.


But don’t. Don’t cut corners on safety during the economic downturn – that’s the new message from tyre company Bridgestone and it’s one we wholeheartedly endorse.


We all want to cut spending and save money during the recession, but drivers and fuel card users should beware of reducing health and safety checks.


A study of 100,000 European drivers by Bridgestone revealed that 10.3 per cent had cars that were fitted with tyres worn beyond the legal 1.6 mm tread depth limit, dramatically increasing their risk of skids and high speed punctures.


According to the AA, tyres were the second most frequent cause of breakdowns in 2008: resulting in a massive 331,000 call-outs.


Are cash-strapped drivers, including fuel card users, postponing the purchase of new tyres and deliberately driving for too long on worn threads? Bridgestone Senior Analyst Andy Dingley thinks so.


“Leaving changing your tyres to the last minute is a false economy,” he says. “Driving with tyres below the legal limit could involve a fine of up to £2500 pounds and three points per tyre. At worst those tyres could cause an accident, putting not only the driver and passengers at risk, but also other road users.”


It’s hard to argue with that. So go on – give the garage a ring. Now.


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