The simple test with a 20p coin that could save thousands of motorists.


Drivers are urged to use a 20p coin to check whether they are driving legally, as snow, ice and rain have hit much of the UK. Using the coin could help drivers to find out if their tires are roadworthy and if they do not, in some cases this could mean a hefty fine.

A simple test before taking the wheel could mean the difference between a safe drive and a £10,000 fine – or worse.

The test is the fastest and easiest way to avoid a large fine or an accident on the road.

The 20p test is a way to check if the tread – the grooves in the rubber of tires – is deep enough to be safe and roadworthy.

Driving with dangerous or defective tires also carries the risk of a fine of up to 2,500 pounds and three points on the driver’s license. This means per tire, so four illegal tires can mean a £10,000 fine and 12 penalty points according to the RAC.

Checking that the tires are not worn out could not only prevent accidents, but also prevent insurers from not paying out in the event of an accident. If tires are not road legal, this could even lead to criminal prosecution.

The law states that the tread of the middle three-quarters of the tire on all tires must be at least 1.6 mm deep, and this corresponds to the depth of the band around a 20p coin. If you put the coin in your tire tread, it could show whether your tires are legally allowed on the road.

If the tires cannot move the water because of the low tread depth, there is a possibility that the car’s tires could lose contact with the road and the driver could lose control of the car. This is called aquaplaning and can lead to serious accidents at high speeds.

The tread in tires has a very specific purpose. They help to push water out from under the wheels in wet conditions and keep the rubber of the tire on the road surface.

At high speeds, a tire can squeeze a gallon of water under the car every second, which shows how important the right tread depth can be.

To avoid a fine, an accident, or both, check your tires with the 20p test.

The safety organization Tyresafe has some additional advice: “While checking the tread, look at the general condition of the tire. Tire manufacturers do not produce tires with bulges, cuts, nails or cracks in the tire. If these are visible, you must have the tire inspected by a tire specialist.

If you need new tires, you can buy them online and have them fitted locally at, which should mean fewer surprises in terms of cost.

You can use the garage price comparison from or the good garage finder from Which? to find a reputable local garage that will check your tires and do all the necessary work.

Companies like Halfords also offer a free tire check and say they will offer advice on solving problems, which usually means new tires if necessary.


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