When I worked in the car leasing industry one of the main issues that saw people lose their deposits upon vehicle-return were damaged tyres, often having nails or random road debris embedded in the rubber. This was the bane of many driving instructors, as a lot of business was devoted to leasing dual-control cars. According to TyreSafe, young drivers have a concerning lack of knowledge of tyre safety and legislation. 62% thought that safe tread depth was lower than it is, and 57% didn’t know that the driver is responsible for tyre conditions when stopped by the police.
According to the RAC, by far the most common reason for breakdown callouts is flat-tyres, blowouts, and any other situation that requires a wheel change. Many drivers do not know how to change their tyres, and even if they could, only 38% of new cars do not come equipped with spare-wheels due to cost, space and weight. (Instead, most are sold with a puncture repair kit.)
But could this worry over tyre safety be a thing of the past? Michelin have developed an airless puncture-proof tyre dubbed the ‘UPTIS’ which they believe will revolutionise tyre technology. Michelin say the risk of punctures and blow-outs will be totally eliminated, as will excessive, life-shortening wear caused by under- or over-inflation. This will hopefully give drivers one less thing to worry about.
The tyres are set to become commercially available in around 2024, but who knows when we might see them gliding over Newbury’s hallowed roads?