TIPS ON TYRE SAFETY

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In the aftermath of the death of the Minister of State for Labour,Employment and Employment, Barrister James Enejo Ocholi alongside his wife and son, in a ghastly motor accident along Abuja-Kaduna expressway. Though investigations are still ongoing to ascertain the immediate and remote cause of the unfortunate accident, from the wreckage of the vehicle, one can easily attribute a fault to burst tyre among other reasons.

I consider it needful to discuss this topic to the benefit of all road users.

In an event of tyre burst, your car will tend to weave about, especially at speeds over 50mph. The best action is to hold the steering wheel firmly and let the car slow down by itself.

Your immediate instinct might be to brake, but if the car is starting to move sideways braking will make matters worse causing the car to spin. Sudden braking is the single worst thing that you can do if a tyre blows out. Repeat this thought to yourself over and over so that you are programmed to act if the worst happens.

Keep looking ahead and turn your steering wheel to keep in a straight line. Changing to a lower gear might help in a front wheel drive car if you can control the steering with one hand.

Hold FIRMLY to your steering wheel with both hands, NO VIGOROUS TURNING, as you concentrate on the road and your mirrors, in seconds study the movement pattern of the car. Your car will naturally swerve to the direction of the burst tyre.

Disengage the gears of the car by shifting to neutral (N) as you still maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel and put your eyes on the road.

Front tyre puncture will cause the car to pull heavily to one side. Steer firmly to correct the pull.

Leave the footbrake alone… If there is space ahead, concentrate on steering and allow the car to lose speed naturally. If you use the footbrake after gaining initial control, be very gentle…

Pulling the parking brake on and off repeatedly can help you to slow down but care must be taken not to lock the back wheels because this could cause the car to pivot around the damaged wheel and spin – your main aim is to keep the car on course and lose speed naturally. Changing down might help in a rear-wheel drive car as engine compression will lower the speed but again no snatched or jerky changes. Remembering that extra effort will be required for steering, it may be safer to keep your hands on the wheel.

NOTE: Burst tyres are dead. You can drive on the tyre very slowly to a safe place but do not attempt to go any further than is absolutely necessary. Do not forget to do a daily visual check of your tyres and check tyres before you embark on a long journey. Check your tyre pressure more often during heat periods.

Stay calm – stay safe!

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