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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 12:04 GMT
Drivers ignorant of safety basics
A serious car accident
Road safety group says tyre tread levels should be increased
Millions of drivers could be putting their lives at risk because they do not know how to make basic safety checks to their cars, campaigners have warned.

Research by the road safety charity Brake suggests that 68% of drivers do not know the legal minimum level of tread on their car's tyres.

The danger of worn tyres is made worse by wintry conditions, Brake stresses.

It is calling for random police checks - and wants the minimum depth of tread increased from the current 1.6mm.

Roadside rescue company Green Flag has joined Brake in the campaign to increase the depth of tread required by cars and vans to 3mm.

Stopping distances at 50mph
Tyre tread with wear strip moulded in
Tread of 8mm: 25.9metres
Tread of 3mm: 31.7metres
Tread of 1.6mm: 39.5metres
(source: Brake/Green Flag)

Worn tyres can significantly increase braking distances. The head of education at Brake, Jools Townsend, says: "Many drivers are too reliant on their annual MoT and service."

They are unaware of the deterioration that occurs to their vehicle over the course of a year, she points out.

New tyres contain a wear strip moulded into the grooves of the tyre. When the tyre has worn level with the strip, the tyre has reached the legal limit.

Green Flag spokesperson Abi Clark warns that drivers should pay attention to tyre wear and maintaining the correct pressure.

"If motorists fail to take this advice, they could be putting themselves and others at risk from accidents."

A spokeswoman from charity Brake explains the dangers

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