With the UK suffering its wettest second quarter since records began in 1910, the need for adequate tyre tread to stay safe on wet roads all year round is more important than ever, says TyreSafe.


Indeed, the news from the Met Office of the dismally damp conditions from April to June will not be a surprise to motorists who have battled the extreme driving conditions. However, the frequent downpours needn’t be a dampener for drivers, says the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation.

“Spring felt more like autumn this year with its unusually high rainfall, yet what it does show is that tyre tread depth should be checked regularly, whatever time of year, to make sure they can cope properly with wet roads.

“And there is at least one silver lining to these continuous clouds and that’s the free advice from TyreSafe, which is urging drivers to inspect their tyres simply by using the 20p tread depth check. It’s easy to do and could pay dividends,” said Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe.

The simple test involves inserting a 20p piece into the main grooves of the tyre. If the outer band of the coin is visible, then the tyre tread may not have sufficient depth and should be inspected by a qualified specialist. Full details of the test can be found by visiting


Adequate tread depth is essential for good grip on wet roads as the tread pattern helps to remove water from the road surface. Drivers with insufficient tread depth face longer stopping distances, reduced grip and an increased risk of aquaplaning.

When checking the tread, TyreSafe advises that drivers should also give their tyres a visual inspection for any cuts, lumps or bulges, while also making sure the air pressure is correct.

“Tyre safety is about protecting the ones you love, as well as having respect for other road users. However, if that’s not enough to spur people into action and to regularly check their tyres all year round, then the heavy fines for driving with illegal tyres certainly is,” added Jackson.

Current UK law requires car drivers to have at least 1.6mm of tread across the central three-quarters of the tyre, around its entire circumference.

Drivers who fail to comply with the regulations face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.