Good tyres, correct tyre pressure, adequate tread depth, emergency equipment – these are the most important elements that must be checked before you embark in your car on any holiday travel. It is also important to check the technical condition of the vehicle – the causes of many accidents are car breakdowns. Although the number of drivers who check tyre pressure regularly once a month increases (44%), still 1/3 does it only once every six months1.
How to properly prepare your car for summer trips? Here are some tips:
- Check the tyre pressure before you leave – this is one of the most important parameters guaranteeing road safety. The pressure measurement must be carried out on cold tyres or after driving no more than 2 km. This parameter determines whether the tyre will adhere well to the roadway during acceleration, braking and cornering. When the pressure is too low braking distance becomes much longer, the car and motorcycle's drivability deteriorates, there’s faster tyre wear and a need for more frequent refuelling – due to increased rolling resistance. When the pressure is 30-40% too low, the tyre can warm up to such a temperature that internal damage and tear will occur. Proper inflation level cannot be assessed by eye glance – in modern tyres, a noticeable drop in tyre pressure can only be noticed when it is 30 percent too low, which is much too late.
- There is no optimal pressure value for every tyre of every vehicle. It is the car manufacturer that determines which value is suitable for a certain type of a car or engine version. Therefore, we should look for the right pressure values in the car owner’s manual or the vehicle placard.
- Do not forget about the spare tyre – check it for damage and make sure its pressure level is appropriate. If you do not have a compressor in the trunk, it will be difficult to inflate it on the route. Spare tyres will shorten the repair time and make you reach your destination faster.
- Measure tyre tread depth – is should be at least 1.6mm deep in the absence of the so-called wear indicators on the tyre. Consult the manufacturer for recommended tread depth measurements to find out if they’re safe. This is an important parameter – when driving in the rain, aquaplaning may occur, i.e. loss of adhesion when a layer of water builds between the wheels of the vehicle and the road surface.
- Check the condition of the tyres and rims – examine the tyres or go to a tyre technician for inspection. If cracks, cuts or bumps have appeared on the sidewall, the tyre is damaged and your trip will not be safe.
- With the change of season, time to change your tyres – driving on winter tyres in summer is neither safe, nor cost-effective. Soft rubber compound of winter tyres at high temperatures considerably extends the braking distance and affects the tyre's grip during cornering. In the summer, winter tyres wear out much faster and have much greater rolling resistance, which impacts the fuel economy of a car. In summer, all-season tyres do not provide the same grip and traction as summer tyres - take this into account and adjust the speed.
- Go to a mechanic for a quick overview – the condition of brakes, tyres, steering and suspension have a direct impact on driving safety.
- En route, remember to keep the right distance from the car that goes in front of you – a good rule to follow is to keep the distance in meters equal to the double speed of the car.
- Don’t drive while tired – a perfectly prepared car may prove to be useless if the driver is not able to anticipate and react in good time. Drowsiness is similar to alcohol in how it compromises driving ability by reducing alertness and attentiveness, delaying reaction times, and hindering decision-making skills.
- Make sure you have appropriate emergency equipment – a first-aid kit, a blanket, a flashlight and a warning triangle may prove to be very useful. Check compulsory equipment rules of the countries you plan to visit.
– For our own health, before going on a journey, let's check the tyres and basic systems in our car or motorcycle. Tyres are the only element of the vehicle in contact with the road. Safety systems and sensors gain information from the wheel, which is why the quality and very good condition of the tyres is extremely important. Following these basic rules will have a real impact on the safety of drivers and their families during summer trips – emphasises Piotr Sarnecki, Director General of Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA).
Find out more on ptia.org.pl/en
1 Moto Data 2018 - Panel of car users, N=1000 respondents