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Tyres and Safety

Tyres are a key component of the safety of any vehicle and the condition of tyres is a vital factor in preventing road accidents. It is worth remembering that the only part of a vehicle touching the road are the tyres and acceleration, braking, steering and cornering all depend on them. Neglected tyres can lead to devastating consequences.

Tyres have four basic functions to perform:

1. Transferring traction and braking forces to the road surface:

2. Changing and maintaining direction of travel:

3. Supporting the load of the vehicle and its contents

4. Absorbing road shocks.
To make sure your tyres are safe, carry out these simple checks:

Pressure
Check the pressure of the tyre as if this is incorrect it creates excessive stress and heat and can lead to tyre failure. If you don’t know the correct pressure consult the owner’s manual don’t rely on the service station’s gauges, get your own and check with that You should aim to check your tyres every two weeks but a minimum would be monthly. Only check the pressure when the tyre is cool. And don’t forget to check your spare!

Tread
The legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm however this is the bear minimum and it is strongly recommended that tyres are changed when the tread is reduced to 2-3mm. While examining the tread, also look for signs of uneven wear or damage such as cuts, cracks, splits, punctures and bulges.

Rotation
Sometimes irregular tyre wear can be corrected by rotating your tyres. Refer to
your vehicle owner’s manual, or consult a the tyre manufacturer dealer for the
appropriate rotation pattern for your vehicle.

Size
Never fit tyres that are the wrong size.

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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