Tread carefully by taking the 20p tyre test, firefighters urge

The advice - that drivers should get their tyres inspected by a professional if the outer band of a 20p piece is visible once inserted into a tyre groove - comes following the country's wettest winter on record, as having inadequate tyre tread depth could increase the likelihood of an accident on rain-affected roads.

Unroadworthy tyres can lead to a vehicle losing grip on wet roads, which can lead to accidents. Tyre tread grooves help evacuate water when in contact with tarmac, enabling proper grip. Without sufficient tread depth tyres could be unable to handle a wet road properly, leading to aquaplaning - where tyre traction and therefore control, is lost.

Where and when are the free tyre safety events?

Road safety team members and personnel from Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service will be dispensing the advice and other information along with free tyre health checks during a series of public events.

Information sessions and free tyre safety checks will be at:

  • Faringdon Tesco, 10am-3pm, Tuesday 7 October
  • Thame town centre, 10am-3pm, Monday 13 October
  • Cherwell Valley Services, junction 10 M40, 10am-3pm, Friday 17 October
  • Marriotts Walk, Witney, 10am,-3pm, Monday 20 October
  • Henley town centre, 10am-3pm, Friday 24 October
  • Toys R Us, Botley Road, Oxford, Friday 31 October

Get tyres checked

Mick Clarke, Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service's Road Safety Manager, said: "Tyres are the only thing which connect vehicles to the road, so it is absolutely essential that they are in a proper condition, especially during wet weather.

"If tyres are not roadworthy then they could make a vehicle slide and skid on wet roads, which can be a frightening experience for a driver and potentially dangerous for them and other road users.

"It is easy to do the 20p tyre test to check if have adequate tread depth - doing it is something that could help prevent an accident. If the outer band of a 20p piece is visible when placed into a tyre then it is time for the tyre to be assessed by a trained professional, and it may be dangerous and illegal."

Preventative work

Councillor Rodney Rose, Oxfordshire County Council's Deputy Leader, who also has responsibility for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "One of the key aspects of the work Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service do is to educate residents about potential risks in order to prevent road traffic accidents happening.

"It makes great sense to become informed about tyre safety by learning more at one of the free events that are being laid on across Oxfordshire and I would encourage people to attend."

Tyre Safety Month is run by Tyre Safe, a non for profit organisation which focuses on raising awareness of the potential dangers associated with defective and illegal tyres.

The advice is part of 365alive, a Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service initiative designed to prevent fires and road accidents via preventative and educational work.