October is Tyre Safety Month and NFU Mutual, the UK’s leading rural insurer, is urging horse owners to check the pressure, tread and condition of the tyres on their horseboxes and trailers, to ensure they stay safe and legal.
In a recent survey undertaken with The British Horse Society, PRP Equine Rescue and SV Tech as part of an ongoing safety campaign, NFU Mutual has revealed that 54 per cent of respondents said that they had broken down with their horsebox or trailer as a result of tyre-related problems, with punctures and blow-outs being the most common reasons for tyre failure.
Nicki Whittaker, an Equine Specialist at NFU Mutual pointed out the importance of checking tyres and not cutting corners where safety is concerned: “When you transport your horse in a horsebox or trailer, the tyres are the only parts of the vehicle in contact with the road. Tyres which are old, damaged, worn or incorrectly inflated will fail at some point: at best this will result in a breakdown and, at worst, tyre failure can lead to serious accidents.
“As part of our safety campaign we have visited numerous equine events across the UK and at every event, without exception, at least one competitor had broken-down en-route because of a puncture or blow-out. One competitor was delayed six hours following a tyre blow-out while he waited for a replacement tyre to be sourced and fitted to his horsebox.”
So far, the safety campaign has highlighted a number of problems with tyres fitted to horseboxes and trailers. “People will often fit car tyres on their trailers to save money without realising that they are not designed to carry the weight of the horses,” Nicki explained.
“Damaged, perished and incorrectly inflated tyres are also problems and can lead to blow-outs, which can be extremely frightening and can leave the driver of the vehicle struggling to regain control,” she concluded.