Following the announcement of inter-provincial travel restrictions being lifted, many South African motorists will take to the highways to get to their favourite holiday destination or to visit family members. ”Whether you are planning a tranquil holiday in the bush, a scenic retreat in the mountains, a blissful beach holiday at the coast, or to spend time with family, peace of mind should start before you embark on your long-distance travel by making sure your vehicle is safe and ready for the trip,” explains Dean Horn, Super Tyres Managing Director.
While human error is the biggest cause of car accidents on the road, badly maintained vehicles and poor tyre condition also make a large contribution to the national road toll every year.
“Many accidents can be prevented by ensuring that tyres and shocks are kept in the best possible condition,” says Dean Horn – Super Tyres Managing Director. “Tyres are what hold the vehicle securely on the road, allowing drivers to steer and stop safely. Tyres and shock absorbers are partners in maintaining your safety. Shock absorbers look after the tyres by keeping them on the ground, and the tyres hold your lives in their grip,” he adds.
Making sure that your tyre pressure, tread and wheel alignment is correct is critical for road safety. Approximately 20 percent of fuel goes towards overcoming friction between the car and the road – have your tyres checked to help prevent unnecessary spending at the pumps.
“Shock absorbers are as safety-critical as airbags, brakes and the tread on a car’s tyres. The danger is that shocks deteriorate slowly and often people are not aware of how dangerous their vehicle has become as they cannot see that their shocks are worn and gradually adjust their driving to compensate for the extra roll, bounce or ‘floating feeling,’” explains Horn.
To avoid any problems when driving, practice these important tyre safety tips:
- Fit the right tyres: Always ensure that your tyres are the correct size recommended by the vehicle manufacturer and that all four tyres are the same size, tread pattern and speed rating.
- Check your shocks: Shock absorbers become less effective after about three years. Worn shocks won’t keep your wheels glued to the road, no matter how new your tyres are. In an emergency situation, applying brakes can cause your tyre to loose contact with the road, increasing the chance of an accident. Signs of worn shocks include: a vibrating steering wheel, bald patches on tyres, the car does not hug the road on bends and veers excessively in side winds. Be responsible and get your shocks inspected by a professional before any long trip.
- Always have a reliable spare:When checking your tyres, remember to check your spare tyre as well. Ensure it is pumped to the correct air pressure and is in good condition. In the event that you have a flat tyre on the road, having a reliable spare tyre ensures that you are not stuck at the side of the road for long and enables you to reach your destination safely.
- Rotate your tyres: Regular rotation can extend the life of your tyres, improve your fuel consumption and ensure that your car handles in a steady and predictable way on the road. “We recommend that you rotate your tyres every 10,000 Km,” says Horn.
- Check the air pressure: Driving with incorrect tyre pressure can affect a vehicle’s handling and braking, particularly in wet conditions, and can seriously compromise your safety. Driving on severely under-inflated tyres can cause heat build-up and eventually, premature failure. Check your tyre pressure monthly.
“It is also very important to remember to sanitize and disinfect your vehicle before, during and after any trip,” explains Horn.
While we continue to disinfect our homes and workplaces, a car may often get overlooked, but is equally important. Clean the air conditioner vents by spraying them with a specialised cleaner and then remove and clean the filter. Clean high-touch surface areas such as the steering wheel, knobs, switches and buttons by using a car interior cleaner. Don’t forget to clean the interior and exterior door handles as well as your car key.
“If you are unsure about the condition and safety of your vehicle’s tyres and shocks get them checked by a tyre specialist,” concludes Horn.