This means millions of Brits could be risking a £2,500 fine and three penalty points for having a tyre below the legal tread limit of 1.6mm – and in the most extreme case, four illegal tyres could result in a £10,000 fine and an instant driving ban.
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“Our findings point to an alarming lack of concern about tyres by British driver,” said AA Tyres co-founder Mark Shankland.
“With summer upon us, now is a good time to check your tyres before heading off on a long trip, and replace them if there is 2mm of tread or less remaining.”
The AA research is backed up by official research from Highways England and TyreSafe: they measured 340,000 car tyres and found 66% were below 2mm and 27% were illegal.
More than 10,000 journey-stopping AA call-outs were for problems with tyres in the first three months of 2016 alone.
The dangers of driving on balding tyres are clear, said Shankland. “Not only is the risk of a blow-out greater but stopping distances are significantly increased too.
“If there’s a sudden summer downpour there’s a high chance of aquaplaning on worn tyres which means you lose control of your car with perhaps unthinkable consequences.
“If your tyres are worn or damaged, you’re putting your family at risk.”