What is the law relating to tyre tread depth?
The law states that there should be a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. It must be measured across the central 3/4 of the tyre and all the way round it too.
What does this mean in practice?
The first part of the law says there must be a minimum of 1.6mm of tread.
This means that the depth of the grooves MUST BE NOT LESS than 1.6mm.
Conveniently, all major manufacturers put what are known as tread wear indicators in the grooves of their tyres, these are the small 'bumps' in the bottom of the grooves. If on your tyres, the tread wear indicators are level (flush) with the main surface of your tyre, then you must change it as it is illegal.
Close-up of a tread wear indicator
Tyre care information from
LOBITOS DISCOUNT TYRE DEPOT
The second part of the law says that the 1.6mm measurement must be across the central 3/4 of the tyre.
This means that at any point across the main part of the tyre, the tread depth MUST BE NOT LESS THAN 1.6mm.
The third part of the law says that the 1.6mm measurement must be all the way round the tyre.
This means that there MUST BE A MINIMUM OF 1.6mm of tread all the way round the tyre.
Its all about safety. Independent tests commissioned by RoSPA have shown that your stopping distance increases greatly when the depth of your tread gets down to the legal minimum.
The legal minimum is just that, an absolute minimum, your stopping distance in the wet will start to increase dramatically when your tread depth gets below 3mm, of course this depends on what surface you are driving on and the temperature as well.
RoSPA recommend that for maximum safety that you change your tyres when the depth gets to 3mm.
If having read this, you're not sure about the condition of your tyres, please call in for a free unbiased tyre check. We want you to be as safe as possible.
RoSpA - Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
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