Family travel

Why tyre safety is every driver’s responsibility

Ask any road user what they hate more than getting stuck behind a caravan and they are bound to say: getting stuck behind a caravan that has broken down.

Oh no, not another broken down caravan!


Things go wrong sometimes – it’s a fact of life. However, when you find yourself sitting on the side of the road waiting for recovery and having to give apologetic waves to everyone who manages to squeeze past, you want to be confident that you did everything you could to avoid this situation.

Whenever we are preparing for our caravan adventures we routinely check our outfit is roadworthy. This includes making sure the caravan is hooked up properly, our lights are working, and our tyres – all six – are legal and at the right pressure. If we didn’t do this we would be putting ourselves and others at risk.

But let me wind back a bit…when I say ‘we’, I mean Mr Tin Box.

As a caravanner of the fairer sex I see my duties as packing the food, making sure we have the postcode for our destination, and checking that the necessary nappy changes/loo trips have taken place before we set off.

This week I was sent some figures by the safety conscious people at Mumsnet and Michelin Total Performance that showed I’m not the only one who leaves essential tyre checks to the men-folk of the house.

According to their survey*, 73% of women say that when it comes down to it tyre checks are a ‘blue job’.

Mumsnet and Michelin also found that:

  • 38% of women didn’t know the legal tyre tread depth – it’s 1.6mm
  • 67% were unaware of the penalty for having bald tyres – a minimum three points per tyre, plus a fine
  • and 38% only checked their tyre pressures twice a year or less.

Here are some of the other key findings from the survey:

As one of those ladies who lets her partner get on with car related jobs, I feel I’m letting the side down. Especially as I’m the main driver during the week.

I use our car every day to ferry Tin Box Tot to nursery, play dates and to get myself to work. So why shouldn’t I take an equal, if not greater role, in making sure the car is roadworthy?

After all, I wouldn’t let the Tot sit in the car without her seatbelt on, so why am I willing to accept the possibility that unchecked tyres could lead to an accident? And with weather conditions getting icier in the past week the consequences of losing grip or control with low tread tyres are even worse.

With that in mind, here’s some simple advice from the knowledgeable peeps at Michelin about how to check your tyres.

They also say: “Michelin Total Performance brings together an optimum mix of performance areas such as grip, long-life and fuel saving without a trade-off. Michelin tyres are the best match for the daily driving challenges that Mumsnetters face.”

Here’s how they use their driving know-how to develop their products:

*Mumsnet surveyed 1,097 mums with a car/use of a car and one child between 21 and 28 October 2014.

I’ve written this post in collaboration with with Mumsnet and Michelin Total Performance to raise awareness of tyre safety. The survey results, infographic and other information has been supplied to me for this purpose.