Wednesday 6th of October is National Tyre Safety Day, as part of Road Safety Week, and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is pleading with Irish drivers to carefully check their tyres. If you hadn't noticed, well sadly you're not alone. Irish drivers seem to be especially bad when it comes to checking and maintaining our tyres.
Direct contact with the road
Sam Waide, Chief Executive of the RSA, said: "Tyres are the part of your car that is most likely to put you at risk of a fatal collision if they're not roadworthy. Tyres are your vehicles direct contact with the road and play a key role in road safety. It is extremely important that they are fit for purpose to ensure your vehicle doesn't lose grip or control.
"Based on the analysis of road collision reports we estimate that defective tyres could be a contributory factor in as many as 14 deaths each year. We are calling on motorists to 'get a grip' on tyre safety, don't wait for your NCT to check if your tyres are roadworthy. Do a regular walk-around of your car and check your tyres - look for cuts, cracks, or bulges. If your vehicle's tyres show signs of deterioration, you should remove and replace them immediately. Remember, if you don't have a grip on the road, you don't have control of your vehicle. Our message to car owners is have your tyres checked regularly, slow down and arrive alive."
35,000 cars on illegal tyres
The sad fact is that we, Irish drivers, are simply not checking our tyres often enough, or worse - ignoring problems with our tyres. According to the RSA's statistics, between 31st August 2020 to 1st September 2021 a total of 1,392,488 full NCT tests were completed, and of those 107,012 (7.68 per cent) received a fail result on tyres, this included 35,871 (2.57 per cent) receiving a fail dangerous result as the tyre tread was less than 1.6mm.
Sue O'Neill, CEO, Irish Tyre Industry Association, said: "Irish Tyre Industry Association members are experts in tyre health and road worthiness. They are able to assure drivers that their vehicle is safe on the road. By simply taking a few minutes out of your day, you can have your tyres checked and replaced if necessary. During Irish Road Safety Week our members are offering free tyre checks so don't wait until your NCT comes around to check the roadworthiness of your tyres, do it today."
Volkswagen Group Ireland, and its various brands including Audi, Skoda, SEAT, CUPRA and Volkswagen Commercial, have all chimed in to support tyre safety checks, but the AA is reminding drivers that you need to check more than your tyres, especially given that chilly, wet weather is finally here.
Check more than just tyres
"Our AA Rescue team tells us to replace your tyre when the tread depth falls below 3mm in order to best protect the safety of you and your family," said Anna Cullen of AA Ireland. "As is the case with your tyres, a car being idle for a lengthy period of time can lead to a weak or faulty battery refusing to start when you first use the car again. Batteries generally should be replaced every five years - but if you haven't replaced yours in a longer period of time than this it's quite likely that having been idle your car may struggle to start. Our AA Rescue team tells us that while you're checking your coolant, don't forget to check the engine oil and top it up if necessary. Depending on the manufacturer's guidelines you may need to check the oil level up to every fortnight and particularly before any lengthy journey. As we edge closer to winter you're likely to need your wipers more and more, meaning it is important that you check the current condition of the blades."
Stay safe out there, folks.