As school holidays approach, families across the country may be preparing for road trips and adventures. While it’s a time filled with excitement and fun, it’s crucial not to overlook the importance of tyre safety. Properly maintained tyres play a significant role in keeping you and your loved ones safe on the road.
Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, one of South Africa’s largest tyre manufacturing companies and manufacturer of the Dunlop tyre brand, highlights some of the most common tyre and road safety dangers during the school holidays, and provides these essential tips on how to be prepared and avoid them.
Regular Tyre Inspections: Before embarking on any journey, conduct a thorough inspection of your tyres. Check for signs of wear and tear, such as bulges, cuts, or uneven tread wear. Ensure that the tread depth is above the legal limit of 1.6mm. Also, inspect the tyre pressure regularly, as under-inflated or over-inflated tyres can compromise handling and fuel efficiency.
Pack an Emergency Kit: Prepare an emergency kit specific to your vehicle and holiday destination. Include essential items such as a spare tyre, jack, lug wrench, flashlight, reflective triangles, and a first-aid kit. Being prepared for unexpected situations can make a significant difference in your safety during school holiday travels.
Watch for Overloading: During school holidays, it’s common for families to pack their vehicles with luggage, sports equipment, and other holiday essentials. However, it’s crucial not to exceed your vehicle’s maximum load capacity. Overloading can put excessive strain on your tyres, leading to increased wear and reduced stability. Refer to your vehicle’s manual to determine the maximum load capacity and distribute the weight evenly.
Be Mindful of Heavy Traffic Volumes: In heavy traffic you need greater vehicle control, shorter stopping distances, and a good grip on handling and stability. Properly maintained tyres with adequate tread depth and optimal inflation pressure ensure better grip, traction, and manoeuvrability, helping you to navigate safely through unexpected situations and traffic congestion. The school holidays also mean there will be more child pedestrians around, many of them unsupervised, so it’s especially important to ensure that your tyres are in the best condition to ensure you can come to a stop quickly once you’ve braked.
Be Prepared for Challenging Winter Weather Conditions: School holidays in South Africa usually coincide with our winter months, marked by cold weather, icy roads, and adverse driving conditions. Cold temperatures can cause tyres to lose pressure, leading to reduced traction and compromised handling. Properly maintained tyres with adequate tread depth and suitable winter or all-season tyres are essential for maintaining grip on icy or snow-covered roads, reducing the risk of skidding or sliding. In winter weather, where visibility may be poor, ensuring clear visibility through proper tyre maintenance, such as removing snow and ice build-up, becomes crucial for safe driving.
Beware of Aquaplaning: During the school holidays, families may encounter various weather conditions, including rain. Aquaplaning, also known as hydroplaning, occurs when a layer of water builds up between the tyres and the road, resulting in a loss of traction. To minimise the risk of aquaplaning, ensure that your tyres have adequate tread depth to disperse water efficiently. Drive at a reduced speed and avoid sudden acceleration, braking, or sharp turns in wet conditions.
Stay Alert for Road Hazards: Be vigilant and look out for potholes, uneven road surfaces, loose gravel, or debris. Slow down, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and be prepared for sudden stops or changes in road conditions.
Lubin Ozoux, CEO of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa, says, “As you plan your school holiday trips and adventures, remember that prioritising tyre safety is essential for the well-being of you and your family. Regular inspections, proper tyre maintenance, and a prepared mindset can go a long way in preventing common tyre and road safety dangers. By following these tips, you’ll have peace of mind and enjoy a memorable and safe holiday season on the road.”
If you are unsure about your tyre health and want to stay #SaferThanSafe, pop into a tyre expert retailer such as your local Dunlop Container, Dunlop Express, Dunlop Zone or Dunlop Commercial store to help you assess your tyres before embarking on any winter school holiday trips.