Road safety

Tyres, the sole point of contact with the road, play a crucial role in enhancing the safety of road users and of motor vehicles. A tyre has multiple functions and must achieve a balance within a series of exacting parameters. These include supporting the load, resisting and hanging, supporting high and low speeds and perfect adhesion without generating too much rolling resistance. All this is achieved regardless of whether the ground is dry, wet, clean, irregular or deformed. Tyres, therefore, are a crucial factor behind the ability of the driver to maintain control of his/her vehicle in all conditions.

The tyre is a fundamental part of mobility and of vehicle road safety. To improve road safety, a holistic approach needs to be promoted involving these 3 fundamental action areas, which are:

  • vehicle technology,
  • driver behaviour, and
  • road infrastructure.

The Subsidiarity Principle should not deter the EU for initiating actions to improve road safety within the EU.

European roads are still dramatically affected by the death of around 100 people per day. Without new technologies future increase in road traffic will likely make it difficult to meet future casualty reduction targets unless more advanced technologies for accident avoidance can be introduced.


Proper use of tyres to increase safety

1. Check your tyre pressure every month!

Driving with tyres at the right pressure is the most important factor, since only a properly inflated tyre holds the load, adheres to the road, consumes less fuel and produces less noise, assure the best braking distance and contribute to extending the lifetime of the tyres.

2. Control of tyre tread depth

The depth of tread is crucial for tyres. Therefore, compliance with the minimum tread depth for passenger tyres of 1.6 mm [1] is very important. Stronger enforcement action is needed so that consumers are made aware of the serious safety risks of driving with tyres below this threshold.

3. Check that the vehicle is fitted with proper tyres for winter conditions

Winter tyre technology is specifically developed for temperatures under 7°C in order to provide better grip and handling on cold, wet and snowy roads. In winter when driving conditions worsen and the risk of road accidents increases, winter tyres are the most adequate solution for safety and mobility thanks to their special design and compounds differentiating them from summer tyres.


[1] Council Directive 89/459/ECC of July 1989 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the tread depth of tyres of certain categories of motor vehicles and their trailers