The importance of Tyres in Road Safety

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Tyres are the first point of contact with the road. This makes them vitally important to keep in good condition.

Tyres also ensure the safety of your car, if they are of a good quality. If they have not been well maintained and checked, they can cause serious accidents. It has been reported that over 200 fatalities on the road per year are caused from tyres that are in bad condition. Good tyres will improve the safety, performance and efficiency of your car. Often road users overlook this vital aspect, so read this information carefully and make sure you have everything covered.

Checking your tyres

The importance of Tyres in Road SafetyThe tyres should have a good tread. This has to do with the thickness of the tread on the tyre. You can measure this by taking a measuring tape and checking that the tread is 1.6mm. Another way is to use a depth indicator or gauge that you can purchase for a reasonable price from your local hardware store. Or simply go to your local garage, or tyre fitment centre and ask them to check the tread.

The reason your tyres need good tread is because it diverts water from the tyre, thus improving the traction on the road. In wet conditions if your tyres are smooth, you can skid (hydroplane) across the road and cause a serious accident. Smooth tyres make it very difficult to control your car. It is also illegal to drive a car with worn tyres. You don’t want to be fined for this offence so rather take the necessary precautions.

Check the tread pattern (tread wear bars). These are the bridges between the treads. If you check the pattern you will see these bars forming between the treads, or going across the tyres. These bars should protrude, but after a lot of wear you will see that the bars become flush with the tread. This is a sign that you need to replace your tyres.

You can also feel if your car is underperforming. For example you might find that your car is not gripping the road as well as it should in poor weather conditions, or that when you apply the brakes, the car swerves and does not come to an immediate stop.

Check your tyres regularly for nails or other sharp objects that could be causing a slow puncture. Our roads are full of dangerous objects that could end up in your tyre. A slow puncture could blow out a tyre and you don’t want to be driving your car when this happens!

Another aspect of poor tyres is if you see that the tread is irregular. This could mean that you have wheel misalignment. When your car goes for a service, they usually rotate the tyres from front to back so that the wear and tear equals out on all the tyres. Go to your local car service centre at least once a year to have this checked. Also ask them to check the suspension of your car. Poor suspension also places a lot of wear on your tyre.

check your tyre pressure for safetyAlso check your tyres for any bulges or ‘bubbles’ in the sidewall. This may indicate that the internal frame has been damaged. As a result the air pressure moves to the outer layers of the tyre meaning that the pressure is uneven throughout the tyre. This can occur if you hit a pothole or curb, or drive with low tyre pressure. At high speeds you can have a blowout causing much more damage to your car then just a poor quality tyre!

Replace your tyres after maximum 6 years. This is the minimum time that is recommended, but in all likely hood depending on how much you drive probably every one and a half years. Invest in good quality tyres, they will last longer and possibly save your life.

When should you check your tyre pressure?

It is a good idea to check your tyre pressure once a month. Check your car manual to see how much pressure your car needs. In some cars you will find this information on the driver’s door, or on the petrol flap. The same applies to road safety when it comes to tyre pressure. It is dangerous to drive a vehicle that is under or over inflated. You will find that once your tyres have the correct pressure, the vehicle’s steering improves, therefore keeping you safe on the roads.

Many road users forget to check their tyres for safety on the roads, but as you can see good, well-maintained tyres are essential for road safety. A good tip to remember to check your tyres is when you have your oil and water checked at the garage. Hopefully, you remember to do this as well!

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