Too many people lose their lives on our roads every year. How can this be prevented? Tiger Wheel & Tyre have some suggestions.
I recently spent some time with the folks from Tiger Wheel &Tyre at the Base 4 facility for one of its club events. The conversation was rather varied but we chatted mainly about tyres, potholes and the inherent dangers of driving on the South African roads today.
Given the high death toll, what can we do to make sure that we always reach our destination safely, and how do we modify our behaviour to ensure that we do not become a statistic?
Here are a few simple rules that Tiger Wheel & Tyre advocate that can really make a difference when it comes to safety.
I will not text and drive
This is the most dangerous distraction of all for a driver. The minimum amount of time that your eyes are off the road while texting is 4.6 seconds, so if you text 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 you make “It can wait!” your mantra. If you must send a text message during a journey, pull over in a safe spot before you do so.
I will indicate
The fact that indicators are standard equipment on a vehicle these days shows how important they are. 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 failing to indicate their intentions, it’s easy to get sucked into their game. Resist the temptation and set a good example instead. It may become contagious.
I will check my tyres
Tyres are like the heels on shoes — you usually don’t realise they are wearing down until they are 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 Wheels do it for you. This will ensure that there is always at least 1mm of tread remaining around the circumference of the tyre. And while you’re at it, check the tyre pressures. Apart from the safety aspect, driving with under-inflated tyres can cause them to wear out sooner, costing you money.
I will be tolerant and behave well
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 rage will only raise your blood pressure and compromise your decision-making ability.
There will always be road hogs and they will always annoy you. So, to paraphrase the great Mahatma Ghandi, be the change you want to see on the road. Drive courteously, be tolerant and show gratitude to other courteous drivers. You may start a trend…
I will stay awake, alert and alive
A moving car is a missile, and driving one 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 are drowsy or remotely under the influence of alcohol. And when you do drive, 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.
Remember to clean mud off the inside of your rims when returning to the tar as muddy wheels can affect their balance.
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. Your wheel alignment should be checked every six months or 10 000km, and every time you make contact with a pothole or pavement.
These are simple things that will make your travel experience that much more pleasurable.
If you are unsure about the state of your tyres, visit a Tiger Wheel & Tyre branch near you: www.twt.to.