Latest news

Tread carefully

Worn or defective tyres are particularly dangerous in the wet

A test image

This month, we’re reminding all our drivers of the importance of correct tyre maintenance, the dangers of defective and illegal tyres, the law and Royal Mail policy – whether you’re driving a Royal Mail vehicle or your own personal car for work purposes.

The importance of tyre safety can’t be overstated. Your tyres connect your vehicle to the road and are arguably the most important parts of your vehicle. 

Worn tyres are particularly dangerous in the wet because a tyre’s tread helps disperse water away from the contact patch between tyre and road. If there is less tread depth, less water can be shifted, increasing the risk of aquaplaning and losing grip.

Some facts:

  • Nearly a quarter of breakdowns attended by Highways England, are caused by tyre problems.
  • Around 40% of fatal or serious injuries caused by vehicle-defects, were as a result of defective tyres.
  • The legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm, or 1.0mm for vehicles weighing 3.5 tonnes and above.
  • The difference in wet braking distance between a tyre worn to 3.0mm and one worn to 1.6mm can be as much as 44%.
  • Driving with under or over-inflated tyres can affect braking distance, steering and fuel efficiency.

Royal Mail policy is to change your tyres at 2.0mm, to allow a margin for error and ensure vehicles can be driven to a workshop. If you are stopped by the police and found with illegal tyres, you could receive a £2,500 fine and three penalty points per tyre.

In just the last nine months, Royal Mail breakdown providers have removed more than 1,700 illegal tyres from our vehicles. That figure doesn’t include any illegal tyres removed by our own workshops.

What can you do as a Royal Mail driver?

Carry out a visual check of ALL tyres on your vehicle EVERY DAY as part of your vehicle and duty checks. It takes seconds.

Tyres have wear indicators in the grooves to help you identify when they are close to the limit. If there is less than 2.0mm of tread, report it, so that arrangements can be made to replace the tyres.

Offices should have tyre depth gauges available. Speak to your manager if you don’t have access to one. If a gauge isn’t available, check your tyre tread by placing a 20p coin into the main grooves of the tyre tread.

  • If you can see the raised outer rim of the coin with the engraved words ‘TWENTY PENCE’ then the tyre may need replacing.
  • Check in at least three different places on each tyre, as one part may be more worn than another.
  • Look around the tyres and make sure there are no cuts, tears, bulges or other damage.
  • Never drive a vehicle with illegal tyres – not even to the workshop.

Remember your safety, and that of the public, is at risk by driving with worn or defective tyres. If you are stopped and found to have illegal tyres, YOU could receive a fine and penalty points.