What Makes A Car Tyre Legal And What Is Simply Good Common Sense?
Posted on 19th March 2020
When thinking of tyre legality, one thing our personal injury solicitors in Lancaster get asked is whether the tyre is “bald” or not. Legally, all tyres fitted to cars in the UK must have a minimum treat depth of 1.6mm at the shallowest point. The best ways to ensure that your tyres are legal is to purchase a proper tyre gauge and to book fitting of a replacement tyre when the treat gets close to the legal limit.
Other legal requirements include ensuring that your tyres are not damaged, are of the proper speed rating and are properly inflated to the correct pressure for your load. Tyre damage is easily checked by a visual inspection of the car, something that it is recommended you do on a regular basis. Speed rating is a legal requirement and your tyres must have a higher speed rating than your vehicle’s maximum speed. Tyre pressure is something that, if your tyres are clearly significantly deflated, a vigilant and strict police officer could take action about, although this is rare and of course, tyre pressure, unless it is significantly reduced, is a matter of opinion that if unlikely to result in any penalty.
When does legal requirement end and common sense start?
Another question the personal injury team get asked is about tyre pressure (usually post road traffic accident).Tyre pressure as above, is strictly a legal requirement but is, in reality, more a matter of common sense. Tyres that are under-inflated can lead to poor vehicle handling as a result of overheating whilst also causing them to wear unevenly or even affect the tyre’s alignment. Underinflated tyres are also a cause of poor fuel economy and whilst purely a matter of the conscience, is not particularly environmentally friendly. Over-inflated tyres also cause uneven tyre wear and can reduce the handling capabilities of the vehicle.
Whilst the legal tyre tread limit is 1.6mm, many experts recommend changing your tyres when they reach the 3mm point. Whilst this may, of course, be something of an motoring industry sales tactic, there is logic in the recommendation in that deeper tyre tread grips the road better, clears deeper surface water from the road more quickly making aquaplaning less likely and a tyre replaced at 3mm depth rather than 1.6mm depth, is less likely to fail or to crack.
It is also recommended that tyres are also replaced after five years, regardless of tread wear, as after this time a mixture of general use, UV from the sun and chemicals picked up from road surfaces can weaken the integrity of the tyre.
How does this affect any cases following Road Traffic Accidents?
All of our personal injury solicitors in Lancaster will tell you, whilst it is not possible to undertake any safety inspections as a layperson at the scene of an incident, it is recommended that if you believe a vehicle is defective, you telephone the police and ask that they attend the scene. The police are, generally, reluctant to attend Road Traffic Accidents if there is no serious injuries and so there is no guarantee you can rely upon their assistance. Should the police decline to attend, we recommend that you take photographs or video of the scene and any defects of the other vehicle you believe may be relevant.
MG Legal, your Road Traffic Accident claims Solicitor, knows from experience that driver fault is the primary reason for making a claim. Indeed it may not be possible to specifically assess the reason for a collision as being a worn tyre, or any other vehicle defect, if the primary fault for the collision lays with the driver of that vehicle, their insurer will be liable to settle any claim against the driver.
Is there a difference between making a “no-fault” accident and one caused by a defective vehicle?
Not really, whilst some people believe that if the handbrake cable snaps on a new Ford Fiesta parked on a hill, any damage should be settled by Ford under either warrantee of manufacturer’s liability, the simple fact is that the vehicle is insured and it is to that insurance company that the claim would be presented. If the insurer then wished to pursue either the manufacturer or the garage that fitted the faulty part, this is their right to do so, however, it is not generally expected that the individual should take on a large manufacturer when an insurance policy for damage caused by the vehicle exists.
Most times, you will not know whether the vehicle or the driver was truly at fault as, if they lose control or fail to stop in time and collide with your vehicle, the result and thus the breach of legal duty is the same.
How do I make a claim?
To make a claim for personal injury and any associated losses, whether you believe the driver or vehicle which hit you to be at fault, simply contact MG Legal, your Road Traffic Accident claims Solicitor. Any personal injury claim we accept, whether from a Road Traffic Accident claim, medical negligence claim, an accident at work or a tripping and slipping incident in a public place, will be on the basis of a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement). We will assess the prospects of success, whatever you believe the cause of the incident and provide expert advice on how we intend to assist you in recovering the maximum amount of damages possible.
To instruct MG Legal, your Road Traffic Accident claims Solicitor, simply get in touch with us by phone, email, web-contact form or by dropping into one of our offices in Lancaster, Garstang or Longridge. We will put you in touch with a member of the Personal Injury team and get the ball rolling on your claim the same day.
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