Drivers risk losing their licence and massive £10,000 fine for dangerous tyre issue

Tyre check

Drivers should check their tyres before every long journey

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 27/10/2023

- 12:32

People could still be hit with a £2,500 fine if one tyre is not safe

Motorists have been issued with an urgent warning to check their tyres or they could face an enormous fine and potentially lose their licence.

The minimum legal tread depth for cars in the UK and Europe is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre.

Experts generally recommend that drivers replace their car tyres before the minimum legal limit is reached.

Some vehicle manufacturers suggest replacing them once they reach three millimetres as stopping distances start to increase after this depth.

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At 1.6mm tread in wet weather, it would take an extra two car lengths – or eight metres – to stop at 50mph compared to a 3mm tread, according to Kwik Fit.

Having dangerous or defective tyres could see drivers slapped with a £2,500 fine and three penalty points on their licence.

This applies per tyre, with motorists potentially facing a fine of £10,000 and 12 penalty points.

If someone receives 12 or more penalty points within a period of three years, they can be disqualified from driving.

Drivers who have passed their test in the last two years will have their licence cancelled and revoked if they get six or more points.

Penalty points, or endorsements, must stay on someone’s driving record for four or 11 years, depending on the offence.

Having defective tyres can dramatically increase the risk of having an accident as the car will have poor traction on the road.

This could be especially important over the winter with more rainfall and colder temperatures leading to dangerous conditions.

Siobhan Wares, Traffic Officer for Highways England, who patrols the M25 and other major routes, urged motorists to check their vehicles before setting off this winter.

She said: “You are more likely to experience a breakdown or a collision if your tyres are incorrectly inflated or in a poor condition. It only takes a few minutes to check your tyre pressure.

“Help yourself and your family reach your destination safely by checking your vehicle before you go.”

Drivers can check their tyre tread using wear indicators, with some tyres having these marks embossed on the tyre wall itself.

It can usually be found with a line or arrow positioned below the outer tread. If the tyre is flush with these indicators, it is below the legal limit and should be replaced.

People can even use a 20p coin to check the tyre tread by inserting the coin into the tread grooves on the tyre.


Tyre check

Experts generally recommend that drivers replace their car tyres before the minimum legal limit is reached


If the outer band of the coin can’t be seen, the tyres are above the legal limit, but if the band of the 20p is still visible, drivers should get new tyres.

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