Bridgestone South Africa

Budget now for Christmas Safety

Oct 15, 2012

Now is the time to start budgeting for road safety over Christmas. This is the word from tyre maker Bridgestone, which said that motorists should ensure their vehicles were in tip-top condition before hitting the country's holiday routes.

"Many crashes happen because of vehicle unroadworthiness," said Bridgestone PR Manager, Mandy Lovell. "Check your vehicle now - that still leaves you with over two months before Christmas in which to budget for repairs," she advised. "It is a very risky choice to head out for your Christmas holiday in a vehicle which is in need of mechanical attention," she added.

Consider basic items as well as more serious ones. For instance: the devices we use to communicate - check that all indicators and lights work and that you have spare globes in the vehicle for those unexpected failures. And don't forget the hooter. Does it work? If not, have it rectified; the law requires it to work and you could save a life.

It's essential to have a complete check done of the vehicle to ensure mechanical reliability, so ask a local dealership to ensure that items like water and fuel hoses, electrical wiring and the vehicle's general running condition are satisfactory. If the vehicle is close to falling due for a service, you should have this done before going away, for extra peace of mind.

"Of course there are some safety-critical items that cannot be ignored," cautioned Lovell. "Check that your tyres are undamaged and wearing evenly. Ensure there's enough tread depth to cope with water on the road, and if the tyres are close to their wear limit, have them replaced before you go away. It would be very dangerous if you drove through a Highveld rainstorm on your way back from holiday with your tyres worn to the limit," she said. She explained that although the legal wear limit was 1.6mm, wet weather performance dropped off substantially once tyres had worn below three millimetres or so.

She also advised motorists to check their brakes for excessive wear, as well as replacing the brake fluid if needed. Brake fluid absorbs  water from the atmosphere and should be replaced every 18 - 24 months to ensure that it is more resistant to boiling during heavy braking, such as when descending a mountain pass while towing a caravan.

Shock absorbers are also a safety-critical item. With worn shocks, braking distances get longer, cornering becomes more unstable, driving becomes more stressful, and passenger comfort suffers, especially for those who are prone to travel sickness.

"A skilled mechanic can assess your vehicle's safety in under half an hour," Lovell commented. "There is still time to set aside money to make the essential repairs that will see to your safety on your Christmas journey - don't delay until it's too late," she concluded.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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