Are your tyres legal?
Published on 21/10/2016
As the weather changes and the autumn and winter months draw ever closer, the change in weather can have a significant impact on how roadworthy your vehicle tyres are. To many people, it may not be deemed the most important or enthralling aspect of owning vehicles, but ensuring your tyres are legal and safe is of paramount importance, especially if you are an employer needing to adhere to your duty of care.
Wet weather and adverse driving surfaces, such as potholes, take their toll on vehicle tyres which can be left worn down and significantly damaged. Replacing tyres can sometimes seem like a costly and time consuming job, which many people deem a hassle.
It’s all too easy to wait for an annual MOT or service, only changing your tyres once you have been advised they are no longer fit for purpose. However, this leaves many employers and vehicle owners vulnerable to driving with illegal tyres, which can be a particularly risky situation, especially for employers who have a responsibility to ensure all vehicles used for business purposes are safe and roadworthy.
A recent survey, conducted by tyresafe and highways England showed over 27% of tyres were already illegal while they were undergoing a replacement. Tyresafe noted that this could cause over a quarter of vehicles driving across the UK to end up with three points on their license, and also a hefty £2,500 fine. This is significantly more expensive than seeking advice on when your tyres need replacing!
Tyres that are illegal may ‘look’ sufficient to travel on to the untrained eye, but the risk of accident increases significantly when tyres lose their grip – this becomes increasingly problematic as the wetter weather sets in, when snow and flooding caused by heavy rainfall settle on road surfaces. This is why it’s especially important to get tyres checked over by a professional regularly. Tyre pressure and traction should also be monitored regularly to minimise the risk of accident or danger.
If you are a business owner or fleet manager in charge of a number of vehicles at any one time, arranging tyre maintenance and checks can seem like a monotonous administrative part of fleet management.
Ensuring you are using a fleet management system like C –Fleet, which monitors when vehicles are due for servicing is essential to ensuring tyres aren’t allowed to become illegal while in use. C-Fleet can be used with many different makes and models, with vehicles sourced from any dealer, making it unique in the marketplace. Taking out a total care package and fully insured lease is also an option for ensuring servicing doesn’t throw up any costs from tyre changes that are unaccounted for that can cause issues with budgets.
Most businesses must ensure they continue to operate during harsher weather conditions such as snow and ice, and while these conditions may be rarer in the UK; ill prepared road surfaces can cause severe delays to operations.
Many vehicles will still be required to access more remote locations where roads can be treacherous in extreme weather conditions. Having tyres fit for this purpose is crucial to keeping your business running and ensuring there is little or no loss to business. It is recommended to keep your fleet moving during the winter months that wheel checks and replacements take place as soon as they are due. It’s also worth considering if your business should invest in winter tyres – these are specially prepared with an adapted tread and materials better suited to a colder ground.
A recent study conducted by King’s College London noted that tyre wear and tear has a notable effect on pollution, which many have previously blamed largely on the fumes emitted by vehicle exhausts. The study concluded that air pollution contained wear particles – these usually end up at the roadside but can be tiny enough to be ingested. As businesses have a duty to operate responsibly and ensure minimum environmental impact from vehicle emissions, environmental factors should also be considered when it comes to replacing tyres.
While it may seem obvious, employers also have to ensure they are compliant, which includes ensuring all appropriate vehicle maintenance checks have been carried out and that vans and cars are roadworthy and legal.