Road Safety: How To Prevent A Tyre Blowout (3)



Today, I wish to draw the curtain on my focus on tyre blowout which has run for two weeks. Before I do, please remember that in the first half of 2021, a total number of 5,320 road traffic crashes occurred accounting for 2,431 deaths while 15,882 people sustained various degrees of injuries. The record shows that within the same period, 15,398 were rescued without injuries with a total of 33,751 people involved. Some of these crashes and deaths were caused by tyre blowout. Some of these fatal crashes according to the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, occurred at night. This, he noted explains why the Corps is fine-tuning arrangements to commence night patrol once the Federal Government gives the nod for the operations.

So, if you missed the first and last week’s edition, I will passionately appeal that you grab a copy and read as I am convinced that you will find the two editions interesting and educative especially if you are a car owner or even a regular traveler. To refresh your memory, I concluded last week with a focus on preventing tyre blowout by listing the appropriate actions to take to avert a possible blowout. The gamut of prevention is contained in the first and second part of my focus. Meanwhile I did state that there are two very ef­fec­tive op­tions to preven­tion or dras­tic re­duc­tion of blowouts and other form of tyre fail­ures. They include owning a quality tyre pressure guage. This, as stated last week is because in­cor­rect tyre pres­sure is the ma­jor cause of blowouts and sud­den tyre fail­ure. So, cor­rect tyre pres­sure is a must for any safety con­scious mo­torist. But the big ques­tion is, how do you en­sure that what the vul­can­iser pumped into your tyre is the cor­rect pres­sure? Only a qual­ity tyre pres­sure gauge will tell you. The second which I equally stated last week is for you to in­stalling a high pro­file au­to­matic tyre mon­i­tors. For reminders, I told you that a high profile automatic tyre monitor is a state of the art de­vice that use sen­sors and a wire­less mon­i­tor to mon­i­tor your tyres on a 24 hours ba­sis. It alerts the driver well in ad­vance about an im­pend­ing tyre blowout or fail­ure. It pin­points the ex­act tyre so that the driver will take ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures to deal with the sit­u­a­tion. It also ef­fec­tively takes care of pre­ma­ture tyre wear.

I need to equally remind you of an earlier piece I did as a precursor titled, Buying Tyres. It is crucial you know that you cannot isolate tackling tyre blowout without you fixing standard tyres in your vehicle. This is why you need reminders on the things to again look out for while buying a new and standard tyre for your vehicle. You must first give se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion on the size of the tyre, the age of the tyre and the phys­i­cal con­di­tions of the tyre. Let us treat this in bits: the first is the tyre size: On the side wall of your tyres, you will see fig­ures like 215/75/15r, 195/65/14r and so on. These are des­ig­na­tions for your tyre sizes. Check your own tyre to know what is writ­ten on it. The first fig­ure from the left is the width (from side wall to side wall) of the tyre in mil­lime­ters; the mid­dle num­ber is what is known as the as­pect ra­tio used to cal­cu­late the height of the side wall of the tyre. The last num­ber is the ream di­am­e­ter.

There are var­i­ous sizes of tyres in the mar­ket that can fit your type of ve­hi­cle but that does not mean that those sizes are good/safe for your ve­hi­cle. Ev­ery ve­hi­cle has tyre sizes spec­i­fied by the ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer. If you check the tyre plac­ard by the end of your driver’s door, hood or the ve­hi­cle’s man­ual, you will see the spec­i­fi­ca­tion for your ve­hi­cles tyre sizes, please stick to these spec­i­fi­ca­tion while buy­ing re­place­ment tyre. The man­u­fac­turer of your ve­hi­cle have taken a lot of fac­tors into con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore spec­i­fy­ing your ve­hi­cle tyre sizes. If you change that, you may be risk­ing a blowout. The next is determining the age of the tyre: Even more im­por­tant that the size of the tyre is its age.

Why the em­pha­sis on the em­pha­sis on age of a tyre?. Do not be de­ceived by a tyre’s looks. Ev­ery tyre has an ef­fec­tive life span be­yond which you will be en­ter­ing the dan­ger zone. As a gen­eral rule, any tyre more than 6 years old should be dis­carded although 4years is the ideal. So how do you de­ter­mine the age of a tyre? Ev­ery tyre pro­vides in­for­ma­tion about its age but in a coded form. Look at the side walls of your tyre and check for the letters dot. Look around the dot (to the left or to the right) un­til you get to ei­ther a three digit or four digit num­ber boldly im­printed on the tyre with­out any al­pha­bet at­tached to it. Some tyres though, may not have the letters dot printed on them. Just look around the side wall you def­i­nitely will see a 3 or 4 digit num­ber clearly im­printed on the tyre. The 3 or 4 digit num­ber is the code des­ig­nat­ing the date of man­u­fac­ture of the tyre

Let us now deal with your ve­hi­cle’s cor­rect tyre pres­sure? By the end of the driver’s door of your ve­hi­cle, or in the ve­hi­cles’ man­ual, you will see spec­i­fi­ca­tion that shows size of tyre for your ve­hi­cle and the in­fla­tion pres­sure for the tyre in psi (pounds per square inch) re­li­giously stick to that spec­i­fi­ca­tion. Do not al­low any­one (es­pe­cially the vul­can­iser) tell you oth­er­wise un­less you want to gam­ble with your life. It is in­struc­tive to note here that it is not the tyre man­u­fac­turer that de­ter­mines the pres­sure for your tyre, but the ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer. It is the ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer that spec­i­fies the size of tyres and the pres­sure to be given the tyre. He has taken into con­sid­er­a­tion the weight, speed, num­ber of pas­sen­gers, ar­ti­fi­cial in­fla­tion by the heat and other fac­tors to de­ter­mine what the proper in­fla­tion pres­sure should be. The spec­i­fi­ca­tion you see on the tyres are to en­able you match the spec­i­fi­ca­tion of the ve­hi­cles’ man­u­fac­turer. In this light, it is equally dan­ger­ous to use tyre sizes dif­fer­ent from what the ve­hi­cles man­u­fac­turer spec­i­fied for the ve­hi­cle.

Gauge and pump tyres at the right time

The right time to gauge /pump is when the tyres are cold. Morn­ings are most ideal. Be­fore you drive out, gauge the tyres and if there is need to pump, slowly drive to the near­est vul­can­iser. If you are the type that leaves home very early, week­ends maybe the most con­ve­nient time for you. When hot, the tyre pres­sure in­creases. Any ac­tion (gauge, pump) you take when the tyres are hot will be mis­lead­ing and could be fa­tal. Unfor­tu­nately, most peo­ple gauge and pump tyres when the tyres are hot. Never do so. If tyres are hot, leave them for about three hours to cool down.

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