Traffic volumes on the busiest national roads increase to over 2000 vehicles per hour1 during the festive season when many people travel long distances to visit family or enjoy a summer holiday away from home. The South African Tyre Manufacturers’ Conference (SATMC) urges all motorists to check their tyres and ensure their vehicles are safe before starting their journey.
“The number of road accidents over the festive season last year was disturbing, especially because so many fatalities are preventable,” said SATMC CEO Dr Etienne Human.
According to the Ministry of Transport2, between 1 December 2013 and 6 January 2014 there were 1147 crashes and 1376 fatalities on South African roads. KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng’s roads were the most dangerous with 284 and 268 fatalities respectively. Accidents were caused by un-roadworthy vehicles, drunk driving, speeding, driver fatigue, failure to wear seatbelts and unlicensed drivers.
“We can all play a role in reducing these statistics if we are responsible citizens and have respect for life. Every motorist should make an effort to protect themselves and their passengers by ensuring that their vehicle is roadworthy, starting by checking the condition of their tyres,” said Human.
Daily inspect the tyres of your vehicleby ensuring that there are no cuts, bulges, foreign objects or visible irregularities. Passenger car tyres should not have any damage or repairs on the sidewalls. If in doubt, rather replace the tyre. The tyre pressures should always be spot-on for the load and speed to be travelled.
To reduce the risk of sliding across the road, check tyre tread and replace tyres well before they reach the regulatory minimum depth of 1.00 mm. Tread wear indicators in the grooves of the tyres are a quick way of checking the tread depth. Maintain the correct tyre pressure and be sure not to overload your car according to your tyre and vehicle load limits.
Unchecked tyres can lead to flat tyres, tread detachment and tyre blowouts. Drivers lose control of their vehicle when their tyres fail and this can cause fatal road accidents costing thousands of Rands of damage.
“Nobody wants to delay their holiday or find themselves stuck on the roadside with problems. It makes sense to check your tyre quality before beginning your trip – it is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent an accident,” said Human. The benefit of proper and regular tyre maintenance could also improve vehicle handling, fuel economy and extend the life of your tyres.
While regularly checking your tyres is recommended, the quality of the tyre is also important. “It is estimated that the majority of all tyre blow-outs can be attributed to defective second-hand tyres or improperly repaired tyres. You get what you pay for and oftentimes low cost and second-hand tyres do not constitute safety or quality,” warned Human.
Human provided motorists with another useful tyre preservation tip: “Speeding is one of the quickest ways to destroy your tyres. The tyres heat up and this means they are likely to wear down quickly or damage easily if you drive over a sharp object. SATMC advises against this kind of reckless behaviour and asks motorists to respect other road users and pedestrians by driving under the specified speed limit.”