Tyre tips for a safe holiday

For those planning to travel long distances by car, tyre safety should be top priority.

According to Arrive Alive, the failure to attend to tyre safety is a vital factor in thousands of road accidents every year. Research by the CSIR indicates that nearly 20% of accidents involving minibuses have tyre failure as a contributing factor. It won’t help if you have the best brakes on the market, but your tyres are worn.

When braking, the idea is to have sufficient friction between the road surface and tyre to bring the vehicle to a standstill. If the tyres are worn there will not be enough friction and the tyre will slide over the road surface, not stopping the vehicle. This is also true for handling and steer ability.

Ensure that you have correct, safe tyres on your vehicle by practicing these tyre safety tips when driving to both local and long-distance destinations

  • Tyres should always be replaced with the same size designation as recommended by the vehicle or tyre manufacturer.
  • Tyre brand, size and tread pattern must be the same on each axle.
  • All four tyres should be of the same size, speed rating and construction (radial or cross ply).
  • Guard against used tyre imports, many of which are beyond retreading but are retreaded and sold illicitly. Similarly watch out for counterfeit tyres – illicit copies of respected brands. The advice is to always look for the SABS stamp of approval.
  • Never assume that the tyres on your vehicle are correct, even if you have newly purchased it. Unless you bought new from an authorised dealer your vehicle may already be fitted with potentially lethal tyres.
  • Pack for safety – Before departing on your journey check that you have a spare tyre in your boot ensuring this tyre is pumped to the correct air pressure and is not punctured.
  • Tyre pressure – Tyres have been known to lose up to 0.06 BAR (the unit metric used to determine pressure) every month, so check all tyres, including your spare, once a month or before a long trip. Tyre pressures should be checked when the tyres are “cold”, this should be done before you’ve driven, or driven a maximum of 3km or at least 3 hours after you’ve driven. Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct air pressure of your tyres, and remember these pressures might differ when pulling or carrying a load.
  • Tyre rotation – Regular rotation helps extend the life of your tyres and improve performance.
  • Visual Inspection – The depth of tread on your tyres is very important for the safety of your vehicle. Driving with a low tread depth increases the potential for tyre failure while a tyre with a higher tread depth provides optimum grip on the road. The legal minimum tread depth in South Africa is 1.6mm. Check the remaining depth in several places across and around the tyre. Tyres also have tread wear indicators moulded into the base of the main grooves. When the tread surface is worn to the same level as these indicators, the tyre is at the legal limit and should be replaced to ensure safe diving. If you are unsure about the tread on your tyres and feel they might be unsafe for driving long distances, get them checked by a tyre specialist.


For more tips on tyre and road safety, visit www.arrivealive.co.za/Road-Safety-Tyre-Safety


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