Neglected tyres cause fewer road deaths in 2012
Each year, the Department for Transport publishes its annual report on road accidents in Great Britain for the previous year. The 2012 results are slightly better for the number of serious accidents due to neglected tyres, but this parameter remains a concern when looking at the annual road accident statistics.
In 2012, neglected tyres cause fewer deaths and serious injuries
Let’s start with the good news, published in this in depth report of all road accidents in Great Britain in 2012. Compared with the same report for 2011, the number of serious accidents caused by neglected tyres is slightly down; from 28 deaths in 2011, dropping to 25 deaths in 2012. The same is true for the number of serious casualties for these two periods: In 2011, 177 people were seriously injured in road accidents caused by neglected tyres, compared with 169 in 2012. Unfortunately, this drop cannot be generalised to all accidents in the country, particularly accidents where people suffered minor injuries and those where no personal injury was reported.
The total number of accidents caused by tyres has risen
In 2012, fewer deaths and seriously injured casualties were recorded due to poorly maintained or improperly used tyres. But, if all other accidents or less serious human consequences are added, the result is nowhere near as good. In 2011, 931 people were slightly injured in tyre related accidents. In 2012, this number has risen to 1044. Same remark for the total number of tyre related accidents which have risen to 1238 compared with 1136 in 2011. On the whole, drivers have made no progress on the importance of tyres for road safety. This is also reflected in the percentage represented by accidents caused by unsuitable or improperly used tyres of the total number of accidents: Regardless of the level of severity, the percentages are the same as in 2011 (2% of fatal accidents are caused by tyres, 1% for serious injury accidents, 1% for slight injury accidents and 1% for the total number of accidents). Results are even worse if we look at the number of accidents caused by tyres for cars only (and not lorries), with 628 cars involved in 2012 compared with 581 in 2011.
Be careful with your tyres
These new statistics remind us of the importance of the use of tyres on cars. There is no need to point out the disastrous consequences a tyre blow out, or a badly maintained car can have, if a driver is forced to swerve. Unfortunately, these consequences figure in the number of deaths and serious injuries recorded each year.
So to stay safe, here is a reminder of which criteria should be checked on tyres.
Regularly check the tread has not worn down to the wear indicators and that there are no cuts or deformations in sidewalls.
This is the point most often overlooked by European drivers, as has been shown in some recent studies. Remember that a severely under-inflated tyre can burst at high speed, can lead to higher fuel consumption and the vehicle may be difficult to control when cornering. The recommended pressure can be found inside vehicles (generally, on the door post); don’t forget to add more air (0.2 bar or 0.3 bar) when driving a heavily loaded vehicle.
Each tyre is designed to be used under specific conditions. “Summer” tyres are used most often but become less efficient when temperatures drop, in which case it is better to fit “winter" tyres to keep control of the vehicle, especially if there is snow or ice on the road. And when temperatures rise, the opposite is true: “Summer” tyres offer better handling, they consume less fuel and wear less quickly.