Is Driving With A Flat Tyre Illegal?

By David Sholicar

It can be frightening to incur a sudden puncture when you’re driving, and it can be exceptionally frustrating to go out to your vehicle and find that a tyre has suddenly gone flat. As tyres are made of rubber, they are highly susceptible to damage caused by debris left in the road. Rubble and sharp objects such as screws, nails, and glass can pierce the threads of your tyres or become embedded in the body of the tyre itself.

Flat Tyre

Our tyre professionals have helped to create a guide to an important question when you find yourself with a flat - is driving with a flat tyre illegal? Here’s our advice as to what you should do when caught out with a flat.
Tyres are vital to the safety of your vehicle. Not only is driving on damaged tyres dangerous for you and for other road users, but it’s also an offence under section 41A of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The Highway Code states: ‘Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s specification for the load being carried. Always refer to the vehicle’s handbook or data. Tyres should also be free from certain cuts and other defects.’
Being caught driving on flat tyres can result in you getting a £100 fixed penalty notice and three points on your license. On top of that, unless your tyre can be repaired or replaced at the roadside, the police are unlikely to allow you to drive your vehicle any further.

What Should You Do If You Get a Flat When Driving?

It is vital that you stop in a safe location as soon as possible. The Highway Code says that ‘If a tyre bursts while you are driving, try to keep control of your vehicle. Grip the steering wheel firmly and allow the vehicle to roll to a stop at the side of the road’. You must stop as soon as it is safe to do so, and only change the tyre if you can do so without putting yourself or other passengers at risk. If you cannot, call a breakdown service as soon as possible.
It is legal to drive to a place of safety in order to view the damage to your car in a location where you will not be at risk, but it is dangerous to try and drive straight to the nearest garage. Driving on a flat tyre can cause serious internal structural damage to the tyre, as well as damage to the steering and the wheel wells, and permanently damage the handling and control of your vehicle. Not only are these costly repairs to your car, but they can lead to serious accidents.
If you have concerns about the health of your tyres or you have damage caused by a flat, our qualified fitters are here to help. Protyre staff are friendly and experienced in the diagnosis, maintenance, and tyre repair for any potential problems you may have. For any concerns why not book in for a free tyre check at any of our local garages today. We stock a wide range of tyres from leading manufacturers including Pirelli and Bridgestone, all at competitive prices.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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