According to an investigation commissioned by Confused.com across 10 cities in the UK, to find out how many motorists are driving with bald tyres, one in five cars (equivalent of 8 million), had at least one tyre with tread below the recommended limit (3mm), and 1.4 million had at least one tyre below the legal limit (1.6mm).
Research suggests that the issue could stem from the fact that 55% of motorists don't know how to check their tyres, and 61% don't know what the minimum legal depth is.
Did you know?
Having bald tyres significantly increases your chance of accidents, you also risk three penalty points and a fine of £2,500 per tyre.
It isn’t just knowing how to change a tyre that could catch you out, if you are involved in an accident and it’s later revealed that you had bald tyres, your insurer could void your claim and invalidate your policy, as your car would be deemed unroadworthy – the same would apply if your car failed its MOT. This is just one unknown fact that is highlighted in Confused.com’s FAQ guide.
The investigation highlighted that some areas of the UK are risking going bald more so than others. Of the cities involved in the spot checks, vehicles in Edinburgh were found to have the highest number of cars with at least one tyre below the recommended tread of 3mm (27%), compared to the national average of 21%), while cars in Newcastle and Ipswich had the highest proportion of vehicles with at least one illegal tyre (both 5%, compared to the national average of 3%).
And it seems UK drivers have experienced first-hand just how dangerous driving on bald tyres can be. Almost 1 in 20 (4%) UK drivers have had an accident due to defective tyres – almost 8% of which happened this year (2018).
Drivers’ lack of knowledge on changing tyres has left them vulnerable and at risk of accidents, what’s more worrying is that more than 1 in 10 motorists have never had the tyres checked on their car.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, says:
"It’s worrying to find so many people are driving with baldies. Even though our safety film is tongue-in-cheek, our research shows there is a serious lack of awareness among some motorists.
Tyre tread ignorance could land offenders with fines of up to £2,500 per tyre, invalidate their insurance or lead to an accident.
By conducting a few simple checks each month, such as the 20p test, drivers can keep themselves and other motorists safe. Driving has become expensive enough as it is, and avoiding unwanted fines should be incentive enough to comply with road safety regulations."