I recently spent some time with the folk from Tiger Wheel &Tyre, at the Base 4 facility for one of the club events. The conversation was rather varied but we chatted mainly about tyres, potholes and the inherent dangers of driving on the roads today in South Africa.
Given the high death toll on our roads, what can we do to make sure that we always reach our destination safely and, how do we modify our behavior to ensure that we do not become a statistic?
There are a few simple pointers that Tiger Wheel & Tyre recommend which will really make a difference:
• Do Not Text and Drive
This is the most dangerous distracted driving activity of all. The minimum amount of time that your eyes are off the road while texting is 4.6 seconds, so if you’re texting while driving at a speed of 88km/h you will drive more than the length of a soccer field with your eyes off the road! That’s an unacceptable risk. Tiger Wheel & Tyre suggest making “It can wait!” your mantra and if it really can’t, pull over to a safe spot before texting.
The fact that indicators are standard and not optional equipment on a vehicle should be a dead giveaway as to their importance. Tiger Wheel & Tyre suggest you start indicating at least 30m before turning, to give the driver behind you the chance to slow down. With so many drivers choosing not to indicate, it’s easy to get sucked into their game. Resist the temptation and set a good example instead. It may become contagious.
• Check Your Tyre Tread & Pressure
Tyres are like the heels on shoes, you usually don’t know they’re wearing down until they’re worn through, but while a worn heel may throw you off balance, a worn out tyre could blow and cost you more than your dignity. So check your tread, or have a professional at Tiger Wheel & Tyre do it for you, to ensure there is always at least 1mm remaining tread around the circumference of the tyre, and while you’re at it, check the tyre pressure too. Driving with under-inflated tyres can cause them to wear out sooner, costing you money and compromising your safety.
• Exercise Tolerance and Manners
Take a deep breath when the grandma ahead slows to 20km/h and brakes for no reason and exhale slowly as that boy racer weaves around you. Flying into a blind rage will only distract you, raise your blood pressure and compromise your decision-making ability. There will always be road hogs and they will always frustrate you. So, to paraphrase the great Mahatma Ghandi, be the change you want to see on the road. Drive courteously, exercise tolerance and show gratitude to other courteous drivers. You may start a trend
• Stay Awake, Alert and Alive
A moving car is a moving missile, which is to say that driving is a huge responsibility. You don’t want to be responsible for causing an accident any more than you want to be the victim of one. So resolve not to drive when you’re drowsy or under the influence and when you do drive, to give it your full attention.
• Ensure your wheels are balanced
Don’t ignore the shudder if you feel vibrations through your steering wheel.
Unbalanced wheels cause tyres to wear out unevenly and quicker than usual; they also cause wearing of the suspension components and wheel bearings.
If you have been off-road, remember to clean mud off the inside of your rims when returning to the tar as this can even effect the balance!
• Be sure to check your wheel alignment
To put it simply, wheel alignment is the process of pointing your vehicle’s wheels in the right direction. Misalignment can be felt as a pulling of the vehicle to one side and consequently is one of the biggest causes of tyre wear. Your wheel alignment should be checked every six months or 10,000 km and every time you make contact with a pothole or pavement.
These are a few simple things that will make your travel experience that much more pleasurable.
For other pointers and further information visit the Tiger Wheel & Tyre website www.twt.to