The shocking state of tyres people are driving on has stunned Taupo police.

Senior Sergeant Fane Troy of the Taupo Area Road Policing Group said local tyre shops had approached police after noticing some "shocking" tyres on cars coming in.

Mr Troy said the tyres - a number of which were worn on the inside down to the canvas and steel belts - were at a high risk of failure.

He said they posed a major risk and if they failed when the vehicle was travelling at 100km/h they could cause a major crash.

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Mr Troy said all owners and drivers should check their vehicles before making any journey, long or short, on the roads in the new year.

"We encourage everyone to make sure that they do a TWIRL [checking tyres, windscreen and wipers, indicators, rust and lights] of their vehicle before they leave on any journey this year for all vehicles, including trailers.

"Unfortunately people believe that as they have a warrant of fitness their vehicle is road worthy. Vehicles, especially the tyres, wear over a period of time and often before the next warrant of fitness or service is due."

He said owners and drivers needed to take responsibility and check their vehicles were safe before any trip.

"It is important that when checking your tyres you look at the inside tread. This area can often wear unevenly due to wheel alignment issues."

Mr Troy said Taupo roads had been busier than normal over the holiday period but generally motorists had been well behaved.

He said some people had been taking risks and "doing stupid things" but other motorists had been vigilant and ringing police.

"Overall we have had no serious crashes."