It is easy to overlook tyres when it comes to maintaining a car but as taxi drivers know, they are one of the most important parts of a vehicle, especially in the winter.
As we endure longer nights and bad weather, no one wants to be stuck at the side of the road in the cold and wet. So as part of their regular maintenance and checks, taxi drivers are being encouraged to make sure their cabs are ready for every eventuality.
Last month was Tyre Safety Month in the UK and Taxi Point reported simple steps that can avoid a disaster – and the importance of having the right tyres and maintaining them properly.
While many people rightly focus on the depth of the tyre tread, which is a legal requirement, there are other aspects of tyre care that can be overlooked.
The most common tyre blowout causes are driving with too low pressure or going over a hard, sharp object. It is important to regularly check tyre pressures, especially if temperatures drop.
Something else people might overlook is the weight their vehicle is carrying. While bad weather means no one wants to spend longer than necessary loading their cars or making several trips, “overloading a vehicle can cause the temperature in a tyre to rise which can lead to an overheated tyre blowing out even in colder conditions.
“Heated air expanding inside tyres can ultimately lead to increased pressure inside, potentially leading to tyre failure.”
There are simple ways to prevent a blowout, from regularly checking the tyre tread, to packing less into the vehicle whether heading out on holiday or loading the van for the day. Having tyre tread that is worn down is not only risky, it is illegal and can lead to three penalty points on your driving licence and fines of up to £2,500 per illegal tyre. As well as hitting drivers in their pocket, it could also affect their taxi insurance.
While the same rules apply during the warmer summer months, good tyre care is even more important on wet and icy roads.
A spokesman said: “With thousands of car journeys happening every day a common mistake is for drivers to forget to monitor their tyre conditions.
“It’s vital for road users to regularly check their tyre pressure and look out for punctures before embarking on a journey.
“The weather only worsens tyre conditions, so it’s important to use these helpful tips to prevent the repercussions of a dreaded tyre blowout.”
Five top tips for looking after winter tyres
The first is to check the tyre tread. It warns that any heat, even during autumn and winter, can result in the rubber on tyres becoming softer than usual. This creates more friction on the roads, which can result in over-inflation and eventually tyre blowouts.
The second is to regularly look for punctures, with nails on the road as well as potholes posing threats to tyres.
This leads to the third point which is to avoid potholes which can cause tread separation and punctures which can lead to a blowout.
Drivers should always monitor their tyre pressure because changing temperatures throughout autumn can cause it to increase by 1 to 2 psi for every change of 10°C.
The fifth tip is not to overload a vehicle. Drivers should be aware of the recommended maximum weight for their vehicle and avoid potentially catastrophic blowouts.
What tips do you have to help stay safe on the roads this winter?
All information is correct at time of publication. Information provided within this article may have changed over time. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by John Patons Insurance Services or any of its employees.