Bridgestone South Africa

Bridgestone gives tyre advice for Cape rains

May 05, 2014

With the Cape rainy season just round the corner, Bridgestone has reminded motorists in the winter rainfall regions to check that their tyres are prepared for driving on water-sodden roads.

"All that's keeping you on the road is four patches of rubber, each the size of the palm of your hand," said Bridgestone PR Manager, Desirée van Niekerk. "Ensure you are able to get the best out of them," she added.

The main safety factor when driving on wet roads is tread depth. The tread on tyres exists to disperse water, allowing the tyres to stay in contact with the road surface. If the tyre is excessively worn, it can no longer disperse water and starts to skim across the water like a speedboat. This is known as aquaplaning and is extremely dangerous because it can put the vehicle almost entirely out of control. Tyres with less than three millimetres of tread remaining are at increased risk of aquaplaning, and Bridgestone advised motorists to have their tyres checked and replaced before it's too late.

Worn tread is not the only possible cause of aquaplaning. Even a brand-new tyre might not be able to cope if there is just too much water on the road or the driver is going too fast. It is essential to reduce speed on waterlogged roads. In most cases, the speed limits are set for ideal conditions, so one should not attempt to drive at the speed limit regardless – a safe speed in wet weather is often slower than the signposted speed limit.

Bridgestone also advised motorists to avoid mixing different makes and tread patterns of tyre on the same vehicle. "If different tyres are mixed, it can lead to unpredictable roadholding, especially if they are mixed on the same axle," van Niekerk explained. "If mixing tyres on the vehicle is unavoidable, try to ensure that they are replaced in pairs on the same axle to prevent unexpected deviations under emergency braking or swerving," she added.

She reminded motorists that tyre pressure was also important to get the maximum roadholding out of tyres. Tyres that are under-inflated tend to crumple, with only the shoulders of the tyres in contact with the road. This gives sloppy handling and accelerated tyre wear with increased blowout risk. Over-inflated tyres bulge so that only the middle is in contact with the road, also resulting in reduced roadholding and tyre life.

"Check your tyres every two weeks or so, and only when they are cold," van Niekerk advised. "A hot tyre's pressure increases and you might mistaken believe it to be over-inflated and let air out of it," she explained. "But when it cools down, it will then actually be under-inflated. If you check the tyres when they're cold, you'll always be getting the true picture of your inflation pressures."

She said that a simple tyre care routine would ensure tyres were ready for the challenges of the winter rainy season. "Check tread depth, check pressures and don't mix tyres on a vehicle. That should see you safely through Winter," she concluded.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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