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Drivers should be checking tyres during lockdown, says charity

A UK charity is urging drivers to ensure that their car tyres are in a roadworthy condition during the present lockdown.
tyres
Drivers are being urged by charity TyreSafe to check their tyres during lockdown

Although peak hour road traffic in Peterborough had returned to 90% of pre-pandemic levels in October 2020, during the height of the first lockdown - in circumstances most similar to the current restrictions - vehicle traffic was at 30% of 'normal' pre-lockdown levels.

The Covid-19-related restrictions across the country are meaning that motorists are spending less time behind the wheel. TyreSafe is advising drivers to check their vehicle's tyres to reduce the risk of an accident when they do return to the road.

Though a tyre’s loss of tread after use is well known, the charity is highlighting the important checks that need to be made even when a car is stationary for a long period of time.

When left stationary, the rubber is likely to harden and crack more quickly than if it’s being used regularly. To protect from this, tyres should ideally be covered.

Though the effects of hardening can often take months to have a noticeable impact on a tyre’s condition, drivers who have had the same set fitted for some years might notice that this process speeds up.

The weight of a stationary vehicle sat on the tyres can also have an impact on their health. It can create weak points on the inside of the tyre which, when left, can lead to a blowout once the vehicle returns to the road. To avoid this, drivers should regularly move their cars to make sure that it isn’t resting on the same spot.

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman, said: "It’s easy to fall into the trap of ignoring maintenance checks when you’re not using your vehicle, but there are good reasons to keep up the routine. Most likely, using a vehicle with underinflated tyres will just add to your fuel bill and increase wear but there are instances when the outcome is far, far more severe.

"It’s imperative all vehicle owners continue to check their tyres throughout lockdown – look after your tyres and they will look after you."

A tyre should be kept to the proper pressures, too, and this can often be found in the owner’s manual, behind the fuel filler cap or in the door shuts. Check a tyre’s pressures with an accurate gauge and adjust them appropriately if needed. The spare wheel should also be kept properly inflated.