Snow reason to worry if your tyres are up to scratch

06 June 2011

Beaurepaires is urging all Australians to pay close attention to the condition and quality of their tyres this winter after the VACC released startling findings that showed more than one in three vehicles (35%) were unsafe, with problem tyres being the number one offender¹.

Beaurepaires own research has also found that one-quarter of men (23%) are uneasy driving in snow compared to one-fifth of women (18%); and one-quarter of women (24%) are uneasy driving in rain compared to one-third of men (34%)². These revelations come as the cold weather begins to hit Australia, bringing a chilly start to winter, along with rain, hail and snow to many of the region's snowfields and surrounding districts.

Beaurepaires Communications Manager, James Peate, said that as weather conditions worsened with the onset of winter, drivers should take the time to check that their tyres are in optimum shape to navigate wet and slippery roads.

"Having roadworthy tyres is crucial to the safety of your car. They are the only contact point between the vehicle and the road, which emphasises the importance of regular physical and visual inspections to ensure your tyres are correctly inflated, and that they have the correct tread depth," Mr Peate said.

"The risk of rainfall and snow only compounds the need to take action now with the possibility of wet weather and icy roads ahead.

"A tyre with insufficient tread can't disperse water quickly enough and can sit on top of the water surface, resulting in reduced traction and stopping ability - called 'aquaplaning'. To combat this, tyres must have adequate, legal tread depth to increase the chances of keeping your car on the road in an emergency stopping situation."

Mr Peate added that while tyre tread plays one critical role in stopping distances, few drivers also know or appreciate the stopping distance advantages of premium tyres versus those that are cheaper and of inferior quality, particularly in the wet conditions.

"The quality of the tyre, as well as its inflation, tread depth and general condition, greatly influence its ability to stop a vehicle," Mr Peate continued.

"CHOICE recently released their 2011 Tyre Test and Compare which showed the leading tyre in the test, a Goodyear, reduced the distance required to stop a vehicle by 15 metres over the bottom placed performer at 80km/h in the wet³. This represents 3-4 car lengths and can be the difference between having and avoiding a collision."

Mr. Peate encouraged drivers unsure about the condition of their tyres to get them checked by an expert.

"Beaurepaires offer Free Tyre Health Checks so drivers can be confident of the condition of their tyres.  A thorough inspection of the tyre will ensure sufficient tyre tread, pressure and general health, enabling drivers to hit the road with greater peace of mind."

¹ VACC Media Release "VACC's Vehicle Safety figures ring alarm bells" (11 April, 2011)

² Beaurepaires commissioned Newspoll study of 1207 Australians aged 18-64 (November, 2009)

³ 2011 CHOICE Tyre Test and Compare (May, 2011)