Treading warily

A report by Cardiff University’s Centre for Auto Research has found that worn tyres with the legal minimum of 1.6mm of tread for cars (1mm for lorries) can be more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol.

The report – commissioned by Halfords, the high street car spares retailer – was based on data for cars and found that in wet and wintery conditions, worn tyres would increase stopping distance by 36%. At  70mph, that equates to 89 feet. In comparison, tyres in ‘good’ condition on a vehicle driven by someone under the influence of alcohol, stopping distance would only increase by 18% — an increased braking distance of 12.4 feet.

According to Halfords, who conduct around 800,000 MOTs annually, they issue 100,000 post MOT advisory notes stating that, whilst currently compliant, the vehicle’s tyres are dangerously low on tread. Sadly, many drive away with the very real risk that they won’t be tested until the following year’s MOT.