Tread carefully before long trips

The AA attends one tyre-related breakdown every minute, but more than a third of drivers fail to check their tyres before a long trip, less than half check their lights and 60% don’t increase tyre pressure if they’re carrying a heavy load.

This is according to new AA-Populus research among over 16,000 drivers.

John Snowling, AA Patrol of the Year, said, ‘There’s no way to guarantee that a day trip will go without a hitch, but a bit of prior preparation can go a long way to making sure you never miss a beat. It’s a good idea to perform a few essential checks on your car before you set off, paying particular attention to tyres if you’re loading up your car for a long journey or towing. Make sure they are properly inflated – bearing in mind that you might need to increase the tyre pressure to cope with extra weight.

‘It’s vital to make sure that your car’s tyres are in good condition too. Worn tyres are not only more likely to suffer a blow-out, especially in high temperatures, but in the event of a sharp summer downpour a worn tyre is likely to aquaplane, meaning a significantly increased stopping distance and loss of control.

‘And it’s not just the tread depth to look out for but also any damage or defects such as cracks or bulges. Drivers who have a spare tyre often forget to check it, which can be a problem if you hit a pothole and suffer a puncture only to find that the spare isn’t usable.’

The AA recommends drivers incorporate regular checks into their car maintenance routine to help to spot any problems before they cause a breakdown. This includes checking the fluid levels, lights, condition of the wipers and tyres, not forgetting the spare wheel and any trailer or caravan you may be towing, particularly if it hasn’t been used for some time.