Drivers are being urged to check their tyres as they prepare for the festive period, one of the busiest times of year on the roads, and for potentially hazardous winter weather conditions.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of not for profit group TyreSafe, said: “Just a few simple tyre checks can make all the difference to staying safe on our roads. This is especially critical when driving in winter, including cold and damp conditions which often seem innocuous yet can be particularly perilous.”

Among the key inspections drivers are being encouraged to carry out are checking tyres have the correct air pressure, ensuring tyres have adequate tread depth and visually inspecting the overall state of the tyres.

Jackson said air pressure is particularly important at this time of year, with motorists using their cars to transport additional loads, such as presents or passengers, and they must make sure their tyre pressures are correctly adjusted for their fully laden state.

Tread depth can be checked by using inserting a 20p coin into the main grooves of the tyre, and if the outer band of the 20p is visible when inserted, then the tyre may not have sufficient depth and should be checked by a qualified specialist.

Jackson said a visual inspection of the tyre is also needed to check its overall condition. Any objects which have become embedded in the tread should be removed, and if any cuts, lumps or bulges are found, drivers should get a professional to check the tyres immediately.

“If you’re driving home for Christmas, then check your tyres beforehand to reduce the risk of being in a tyre related accident,” added Jackson.