Wolverhampton mother Rachel Rankin learned a painful lesson in tyre safety the hard way and has vowed to make monthly tyre checks as a matter of necessity.
Driving along the M6 near the M5 interchange, Rachel, aged 35, suffered a blow-out of her rear passenger tyre, causing her to swerve onto the hard shoulder as she struggled to keep her Ford Focus under control.
With three year-old son Arthur in the back of the car and no embankment to seek refuge, she was stranded, holding her son until breakdown assistance arrived around 30 minutes later.
She said: “I had never checked my tyres before which I now feel embarrassed about, considering how precious Arthur is to me and my family and my responsibility as a parent.
“I just never thought about the implications of not doing so. The tyres had not been on the car for a long time and despite warnings from my garage at the time my MOT was due, I didn’t act and make the necessary checks.
“Considering it takes a matter of seconds to conduct your own 20p test and the implications of a defective tyre, I will be checking each tyre monthly, as well as before any long journey.
Rachel, a freelance marketing and PR consultant, put her M6 predicament down to a combination of ignorance and a lack of finances during the economic downturn.
She added: “I simply couldn’t afford to buy new tyres at the time my MOT took place and as a result, I virtually forgot about the problem until it was brought back into sharp focus when the rear tyre blew.”
She has backed the HiQ fast fit network’s 1-2-3 illegal tyre campaign which she thinks will finally resonate with motorists, thanks to its three hard hitting messages.
“If enough motorists appreciate the severity of driving on illegal tyres and get the message that they could lose their licence, then I am sure they will take note and then take appropriate action.
“While the safety message has hit home personally due to my experience, I think a lot of motorists believe that a breakdown or accident will never actually happen to them. Until it does.”