HIGHWAYS England is urging drivers to check their vehicles before setting off on the motorway after a runaway tyre smashed into a HGV travelling towards Kidderminster.
The lorry was on the M42 on its way to Kidderminster on May 21 when the wheel crashed into the front of the vehicle, causing more than £2,500 worth of damage.
Barry Proctor, whose haulage company owns the lorry, said: “The runaway wheel suddenly appeared on the carriageway and as a vehicle swerved to avoid it, the wheel crashed into the front of our vehicle causing damage in excess of £2,500.
“If that wheel had hit a car rather than one of my lorries we would be talking about a fatality today.”
Barry is backing calls from Highways England for road users to make sure they carry out simple safety checks on their vehicles and loads before any journey, particularly as the easing of lockdown restrictions has seen the start of staycation getaways.
Highways England’s head of road safety, Richard Leonard, said: “We always want our roads to be as safe as possible and for everyone to enjoy summer safely – but drivers need to play their part to make that happen.
“A brief walk-around and carrying out a few simple safety checks before setting off on tyres, oil, water, lights and fuel could prevent a frustrating breakdown on the journey or something far more serious happening.
“With many vehicles not having been used for many weeks during lockdown or even over the winter, it is crucial that drivers are confident their vehicles are safe and loads secure.”
Recent figures released by Highways England have shown that more than 46,000 items were found on the nation’s motorways and major A roads over just 10 months, including a washing machine, sofa, king size mattress, double-glazed door, garden sheds and a ship’s mast.
As well as checking loads are secure, drivers are urged to:
• Check tyres: prior to setting off on a long/significant journey, check your tyre pressures are suitable for the load and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit
• Check engine oil: use your dipstick to check oil regularly and before any long journey, and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual
• Check water: to ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen
• Check lights: if your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself and your family at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MoT
• Check fuel: before setting out, check your fuel levels and make sure you have enough to get to your destination