Irish Road Safety Week is coming up, starting on the 4th of October, and the middle of that week - Wednesday the 6th - has been named as 'Tyre Safety Day.' It's something we say often, but to which too few people listen - no matter how good your car is, your tyres are the only things keeping it connected to the road, so you need above all else to make sure that they're in good nick.
Gardai will mount special tyre safety checkpoints
Helpfully, the Irish Tyre Industry Association has lined up some free tyre safety inspections to coincide with Road Safety Week. ITIA will offer checks on all cars, vans and HGVs for the duration of the week. Just to add a little stick to that carrot, it's worth noting that the Gardai will also have some dedicated tyre safety checkpoints set up around the country...
ITIA Chief Executive, Sue O'Neill said: "Tyres are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road, yet the importance of tyres to vehicle safety is often neglected. There are expert ITIA technicians available nationwide to give your tyres a FREE overall check and advice on how to check your vehicle correctly on a regular basis for pressure, wear and the tread depth of your tyre. Our message is: Don't chance it - check your tyres and it could save your life."
8,500 vehicles a month found with faulty tyres
The ITIA also went on to point out that, each month, some 8,500 vehicles are classified as being dangerously defective for 'Tyre Tread' and 'Tyre Condition' across the NCT and CVRT testing systems. It is also illegal for a vehicle to be driven on a public road with dangerous defects which means a driver may incur penalty points and a court appearance if detected by the Guards. If you are found to be driving a vehicle with defective or worn tyres you could face up to four penalty points if convicted and a fixed penalty of up to €120.
Pressures, tread depth, and check the spare
So, don't forget the basics - the minimum tread depth is 1.6mm (but really, from a safety point of view, you should be replacing tyres once they get below 3mm tread) and you'll find the recommended pressures on a plate inside the door of the car, or in the owners' handbook. Make sure you give your tyres a regular visual check for any cuts, bulges, or damage and don't forget to check your spare wheel (assuming you have one).