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Brush Up On Your Road Safety

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Brush Up On Your Road Safety

Sandra Olivier
19 February 2009

With the current hazardous state of South Africa's roads it is in every driver's best interest to become wheel and tyre savvy. Accidents happen in a matter of minutes and it is crucial for vehicle owners to spend the time and money to maintain their tyres. To afford you the peace of mind that you deserve whilst taking that road trip review this comprehensive list of some of the most common oversights that occur.

OVERSIGHT 1. FORGETTING TO CHECK AIR PRESSURE. Always check your air pressure, especially before a long trip. The best time to assess air pressure is when your tyres are cool. That is, at least three hours after your vehicle has been stopped or before it has been driven for one km.

OVERSIGHT 2. IGNORING THE PULL-EFFECT. Is your car pulling to the left or the right? Or perhaps your tyres appear to be worn only on one edge? Wheel alignment should be checked every 10 000 km's or the moment this pull-effect occurs. Poor wheel alignment is a hazard to your road safety. Keeping your wheels aligned will prevent tyre wear and increase fuel mileage by reducing road friction and improve your vehicle's handling.

OVERSIGHT 3. DISOBEYING THE TREAD RULE. It's important to remember that the minimum tread on a passenger vehicle must be at least 1mm, by law. If the tread on your passenger vehicle's tyres are below the minimum it means that the vehicle is unroadworthy and may not be driven on public roads.

OVERSIGHT 4. SHORT TRIPS ON NEW TYRES. Remember, when fitting your new tyres it is highly advisable to run them in by driving at a moderate speed for at least the first 200-300 kms, in order to roughen the tread surface. Only then will the tyres reach their full performance potential.

OVERSIGHT 5. NEGLECTING THE NITROGEN OPTION. Did you know that tyres inflated with nitrogen run between 10% and 15% cooler? Therefore tread life is extended, and your tyres also don't lose pressure as quickly as those filled with air. Since Nitrogen is the preferred tyre gas used in motor racing and Military Aircraft tyres, it is certainly a safe tyre gas. If you are already using Nitrogen in your tyres, then keep doing so. If not, you may want to consider this as a preferred option.

OVERSIGHT 6. AVOIDING THE INFLATION RULE. Under-inflated tyres will negatively affect the handling of your vehicle: your tyres wear quicker and your fuel consumption will be higher. Over-inflated tyres will cause premature tyre wear and result in a completely harsh ride. Make sure that you use the manufacturer's recommended air pressure, which can be located in your owner's manual of your vehicle. If you still have your original wheels & tyres, stick with your original manufacturer's recommendation. If you've changed sizes, then inflate at the recommended air pressure by your wheel & tyre specialists.

OVERSIGHT 7: RUNNING ON RUN-FLAT. Run-flat tyres should not be repaired. The reason for this is that the construction, strength and safety are severely compromised once you drive on a flat run-flat tyre. These tyres are merely beneficial in getting you to a place of safety after damage to the tyre has occurred. Damage is not always visible to the naked eye, so although the tyre looks fine, it in fact could be totally unsafe. If you are still driving with your run-flat tyres after they have already been run flat, you should have them replaced immediately.

Tiger Wheel & Tyre has long since been recognised in the industry for their unmatched service excellence and their wide product range on leading wheel & tyre brands. Having been voted as the "Best Place to Buy Tyres" in Gauteng, Pretoria and KZN - by readers of The Star, Pretoria News and the Daily News respectively, it makes sense that Tiger Wheel & Tyre should be your first choice when seeking expert advise on the performance of your vehicle.

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