Drive safely into 2022

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We’ve said goodbye to the summer break and traded in our morning fun in the sun and leisurely brunches or beach walks for cereal, carpools and traffic jams. While quieter roads have been one of the few benefits of the pandemic over the last two years, the return to school, work and reality this January makes vehicle safety a top priority for the start of 2022.

“There is no better time than the beginning of a new year to take inventory of your vehicle’s roadworthiness so that you and your passengers remain in safe hands with you behind the wheel,” says  Lubin Ozoux, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, one of South Africa’s largest tyre manufacturing companies and manufacturer of the Dunlop tyre brand.

“This year it’s especially critical, as we’re slowly returning to normality after a period where vehicles might not have been used as frequently, due to many still working from home last year and some schools still operating on rotational schedules,” adds Ozoux.

Ahead of an anticipated increase in traffic volumes throughout this month and well into 2022, Ozoux says it’s vital to double check tyre and vehicle safety.

“Your tyres are the only part of your vehicle that touches the road, so they are critical to safe stopping distances. As human movement ramps further up this year, you’ll be sharing the road with school kids, pedestrians and other vehicles, so being able to maintain a good grip on the road or to come to a rapid and safe stop when required, are important,” he says.

Do your bit to help keep the community safe during the year by driving safely and ensuring your tyres are in good health. Taking your car for a service or roadworthy check-up is a must in the new year, especially if you’ve recently enjoyed a holiday road trip that could have caused some wear and tear. Tyres are a pillar of the vehicle that cannot be ignored, and even perfect brakes will not help if tyre care is neglected.

3 Rules to help with a safe back to school, back to reality commute

1. Be aware and patient

Try to intentionally pay attention to other drivers on the road and pedestrians on pavements. Minimise your distractions while driving, and practice patience especially while in busier areas such as school zones. Stay calm if drivers try to cut you off and avoid incidents of road rage by driving defensively. We all make mistakes, but remain courteous if provoked. Count to 10 if you have to, just remember that arriving safely is better than not arriving at all.

2. Can you handle the pressure?

Maintaining optimum tyre pressure guarantees you’ll get more life out of your tyres. Inadequate tyre inflation may result in rapid or irregular wear which will not only damage your tyre and eat into your pocket but can lead to catastrophic tyre failure. Tyre pressure impacts both vehicle performance and your passenger’s safety. Pencil in a tyre pressure check every two weeks or try to do one each time you refuel your car.

3. Tyre Checklist

Always spend time to ensure you have the correct tyres on your vehicle and visit a reputable dealer if you are unsure. Tyres should be inspected often, and you need to look out for more than tyre pressure. Tyre tread depth should be at least 1.6mm deep – smooth tyres will hamper quick, safe braking.

A good habit would be to check tyres regularly for punctures, penetrations, cuts and bulges. Cuts in the tyre may seem minor when the pressure isn’t visibly low, however they could allow dampness to get to the inner casing which affects safety and the life of the tyre. Wheel alignment is imperative for careful commutes and misaligned wheels lead to excessive tyre wear. 

Tyre wear reveals a great deal about the way your tyre has been maintained, and indicates a multitude of possible mechanical problems with the car. Learning to recognise these problems early will save a great deal of trouble and money, so make sure you have yours checked by reputable dealer.

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