Survey reveals tired tyres could be missing out on TLC as drivers urged to check vehicles this Bank Holiday


22 August 2022

Press Release

Survey reveals tired tyres could be missing out on TLC as drivers urged to check vehicles this Bank Holiday

New research from National Highways reveals motorists are more likely to check their luggage rather than tyre pressures and oil levels before setting off this August Bank Holiday.

More than 2000 people took part in a survey to find out what they considered to be a priority before setting off this Bank Holiday.

The results showed that only 6 in every 100 people would check tyre pressures and only 3 in every 100 checking oil levels. 

That’s compared to 23 in every 100 people checking they had packed essential items and passports.

With National Highways lifting more than 900 miles of roadworks for the August Bank Holiday - that’s around 98 per cent of England’s major A-roads and motorways free from roadworks - drivers are being urged to “check it and don’t chance it” before taking to the roads.

National Highways Head of Road Safety, Jeremy Phillips, said: “We know that breaking down can be a very upsetting experience, nobody wants to start off their holiday stranded at the side of the road, next to fast moving traffic.

 “That’s why we are reminding drivers to check their vehicles before setting off over the Bank Holiday weekend, particularly the tyres.

 “Unsafe tyres put you and others at risk as well increasing your chances of attracting a hefty fine and penalty points.

 “A simple check on tyre tread and pressure could prevent a breakdown and help make sure you get to your destination safe and well.”

More than 41,500 people broke down on National Highways roads last year because of tyre issues – that is over 20% of all breakdowns.

Yet many of those breakdowns could have been avoided if drivers had carried out basic vehicle checks before setting off including checking their tyres.

Tyre issues were the main reason during 2021 that people broke down on National Highways roads with 41,560 people doing so, compared to 35,892 in 2020 when traffic numbers were impacted by the Covid-19 lockdowns.

So far this year, there have already been more than 19,300 breakdowns due to problems with tyres.

The summer holiday period is the busiest time of year for breakdowns, National Highways figures show.

In 2021 there were 21,307 breakdowns on the network in July and 20,526 in August, an average of 5,000 breakdowns each week.

As well as running the risk of a breakdown, driving without the legally required amount of tread on tyres can adversely affect grip, braking distance and steering.

While driving with under-inflated or over-inflated tyres can adversely affect braking distances, steering, fuel efficiency and the lifetime of tyres. 

If stopped by the police while driving with illegal tyres, motorists face fines of £2,500 and three penalty points per tyre.

The roadworks will be removed from England’s major A-road and motorway network by 6am on Friday 26 August and not put back in place until Monday 30 August.    

Operation Brock

For people travelling to the Kent ports, drivers are also being reminded that Operation Brock is active on the M20.  Operation Brock is a traffic management arrangement for traffic wishing to use Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover.  

Drivers crossing the channel should: 

  • Plan ahead and check before they travel 
  • Leave plenty of extra time 
  • Bring some supplies in case of delays (water, food etc) 
  • Follow the signs when they get onto the M20 

Drivers heading for the Kent ports can check on the status of Operation Brock here.

The survey was an ICM Unlimited Omnibus survey commissioned by National Highways to some 2000 participants (aged 18+) and took place between 24-26 June 2022.

Notes to Editors

National Highways is the wholly government-owned company responsible for modernising, maintaining and operating England’s motorways and major A roads.

Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads is available via the Traffic England website, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile apps. Local Twitter services are also available.

For further information please contact National Highways' press office (24hrs) on 0844 693 1448 and select the most appropriate option:

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