The tyres on your van are the only point of contact your vehicle has on the road below. Their condition can have a significant impact on the safety of your journey, as well as subsidiary factors, such as your van insurance. Keeping your tyres in prime condition can ensure that you have a better chance of reducing any risks involved in your travel, whilst leaving them to degrade can put you at greater risk of more serious accidents.
Tyres that are not properly inflated, carry damage in the form of rips or punctures or that are worn below the legal limit not only present a danger to the driver and passengers, but also to other road-users. It is not only the tyres that you have to take into consideration; it is the variety of road-surfaces and driving conditions that often go unnoticed by drivers every day. Bad weather, such as rain or icy conditions can increase the potential for accidents to manifold. Combine this with poorly-maintained tyres and the likelihood of a lesser accident becoming a major one is increased dramatically. The current legislation enforced by the Department for Transport means that anyone found with tyres that do not comply with road-safety standards can be fined up to £2,500 per tyre and further incur three penalty points on their driving license. In addition, any accidents in which your tyres are found to be at fault can negate your chances for an insurance claim and only serve to increase the cost of your commercial van insurance premiums.
As well as the safety aspects of caring for your tyres, there are financial ramifications for van drivers; looking after tyres can help you reduce other costs. For example, tyres that are incorrectly inflated have a significantly shorter lifespan than those inflated to the correct pressure. In addition, incorrectly inflated tyres offer greater resistance to the road surface, not only increasing their potential to puncture but actually demanding that the vehicle uses more fuel to compensate.
Many van owners are not aware of the simple procedures that can help protect their lives, the lives of others and result in them paying lower premiums on their van insurance. For those that use their vans regularly, a visual check before each journey will tell you if there is anything obvious that requires attention, such as a puncture or balding tread. This is especially important if the vehicle is used by a number of drivers as you will not necessarily know the type of terrain or the weather conditions that the van has encountered on its previous journeys. To make doubly sure, it is worth checking that the pressure is correct once a fortnight, using a pressure gauge. The correct tyre pressure for an individual vehicle can usually be found in the driver’s manual or can be found on the vehicle itself, such as on the pillar of the driver’s door.
Van drivers should also be aware that the law requires the depth of a tyre tread to be at least 1.6mm in the central 75% of the tyre and this must be continuous.
Checking and maintaining your tyres allows you to travel in the knowledge that they will act efficiently when you need them to and you could also fin yourself looking forward to additional benefits, such as cheap van insurance.