Expecting a baby? Add tyre checks to your to-do list, urges TyreSafe
Of the 700,000 or so babies that will make their first journey home from hospital this year, more than a quarter may do so in a car that drives on illegal or dangerous tyres. TyreSafe bases this statistic on the results of a survey of more than 100,000 tyres it conducted together with Highways England, and with the implications of this in mind has launched a new awareness campaign aimed at pregnant women. The safety organisation is encouraging mums-to-be to add CHECK TYRES to their pre-birth checklist in anticipation of the most important journey they will ever make – the trips to and from hospital, before and after the arrival of their baby.
There’s nothing like tales of a metal-crunching near miss to jolt some motorists out of their tyre apathy stupor, and TyreSafe has cued a beauty for this particular campaign. Meet Janine McCarthy – 25-years old and pregnant, she knows the dangers of defective tyres only too well. McCarthy had what has been described as a miraculous escape after a defective tyre on her car rapidly deflated, causing her vehicle to spin out of control and crash into the central reservation on a busy motorway near her home. The car flipped six times before coming to a standstill.
Janine thought she and her unborn baby were going to die: “I remember the back wheels of the car skidding so I applied the brake gently, but as I did this, the car skidded right round out of control. I could see on-coming traffic and I panicked, braking harder. It caused the car to tip and start to roll and smash into the central metal fencing. It was terrifying. Witnesses told me afterwards that the car smashed into the barrier, flew to the opposite barrier, and then rolled down into the middle of a field.
“I recall my arms being crossed in front of my face and the airbag going off. I felt dizzy and remember thinking ‘this is it, I’m going to die’.
“When the car came to a standstill I laughed out of shock that I was okay. I was petrified that something had happened to my baby; I was nearly three months pregnant at the time and had been waiting for my first scan. I started screaming ‘help me’ as I noticed blood.
“The emergency services told me they couldn’t believe I had walked away from the crash alive.”
McCarthy was taken by ambulance to hospital for checks and an emergency scan. Thankfully she escaped the ordeal with just minor cuts and bruises – and her unborn baby was absolutely fine. Janine is now looking forward to the birth, expected in March.
She added: “I feel so lucky to be alive and the relief of seeing my first baby on screen wriggling around was simply amazing.”
Janine McCarthy is supporting TyreSafe’s new ‘Home safely on safe tyres’ campaign so that others do not have to face what she went through. “TyreSafe’s campaign is so important and I want everyone to listen and act on the message ‘Home safely on safe tyres’. I was lucky, but defective and illegal tyres can ruin lives. As new mums-to-be, we pack our hospital bags with everything we need and check our baby car seats – but we need to add CHECK TYRES to our pre-baby checklist.
“There is nothing more important than getting our new-born babies home safely.”
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, added: “The TyreSafe team is sincerely relieved that Janine and her baby were unscathed by what must have been a horrific experience. As Janine experienced first-hand, tyres are one of the primary safety features on any vehicle and if they’re not roadworthy the car can easily become uncontrollable. With so much to remember when a new baby is expected, it’s understandable some things are forgotten, but TyreSafe urges mums-to-be to ensure they add CHECK TYRES to their checklist.”
TyreSafe adds that while heavily-pregnant mums may not be able to carry out tyre checks themselves, they should ask a partner or local TyreSafe retailer to ensure their tyres’ air pressure, condition and tread depth are safe and legal. Visit tyresafe.org for further information on the ‘Home safely on safe tyres’ campaign or to view the accompanying animation.