Nearly two-thirds of motorists (63%) surveyed by FirstCar, the one-stop shop for learner and newly qualified drivers, say their driving instructor has provided them with useful information on tyre maintenance and safety – topping a list which also included relatives (38%), mechanics and tyre fitters (31%), friends (16%) and driving examiners (10%).

Worryingly, 14% of drivers said no one had provided them with this information – a significant safety risk given tyres are a vehicle’s only point of contact with the road surface.

FirstCar surveyed more than 1,000 drivers who had recently passed their driving theory or practical test in a major study of young driver attitudes towards tyre safety, in conjunction with Arval, ATS Euromaster and Michelin.

Tracey Fuller, UK Head of CSR at vehicle leasing company Arval, says: “Driving instructors do a fantastic job of imparting tyre safety knowledge to the hundreds of thousands of people who learn to drive every year, but few people probably realise how much additional information they impart during those lessons.

“The information they share is clearly being well received; but it’s up to the automotive industry, and society as a whole, to support this and ensure every single driver can access essential tyre care information to keep them safe.”

The survey also found that 32% of those surveyed had never checked the tyre tread depths on the car they drive most regularly. A quarter also incorrectly believed the car’s owner is responsible for the tyres being safe and legal, and not the driver. Amongst the most common reason for not checking tread depths was not knowing how to (42%), believing it to be someone else’s job (37%) or being too busy (18%). Yet 82% of those surveyed correctly recognised the minimum legal tread depth as being 1.6mm.

It was a similar picture for tyre pressures, with 29% confessing to having never checked their pressures, because they didn’t know how to (45%), believed it was someone else’s job (33%) or didn’t have time (18%).

Positively, more than half (55%) checked their tyre pressures at least once a month – as recommended by Michelin – but 13% only check them if the tyres look low on air, and 11% if someone tells them to.

Whilst 96% of those surveyed recognised that tyre condition was either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ for road safety, only 49% knew the tread depth limit applies across the central three-quarters of the tread width and round the tyre’s entire circumference – with one in four (26%) either not sure or with an understanding which could be dangerous.

Matthew Slay, National Account Manager at tyre and vehicle maintenance provider ATS Euromaster, says: “Around half (47%) of respondents said they owned a car, so it was disappointing to see less than a third had checked their tyre tread depths themselves.

“ATS Euromaster offers a free tyre health check, but we would also encourage drivers to gain these skills for themselves. Anyone who is at all unsure can drop in and ask for a demonstration; we’ll gladly show them.”

Peter Wood, Key Account Manager at Michelin, UK added: “Young drivers must realise that tyre safety is their own responsibility – but everyone involved in the industry also has a responsibility: to give learner and newly-qualified drivers clear and accurate advice and information at every opportunity.

“It is extremely encouraging that driving instructors are highlighting the importance of tyre safety, and ATS Euromaster, Arval and Michelin are committed to ensuring that those messages are reinforced to all motorists on a regular basis.”

The online survey was promoted in FirstCar Theory magazine, which is distributed to all drivers after they have completed their theory test, and in FirstCar Practical, which is shared through test centres and driver schools after a driver has taken their practical test. 1,090 drivers took part in the survey, with the most popular age categories being ‘under 20’ (52%) and ‘20-25’ (24%). Future issues will include a handy ‘how-to’ guide for performing basic tyre checks, and information will be shared via the FirstCar website.

FirstCar is a young drivers’ guide to learning to drive, buying a first car and obtaining car insurance. For more information visit