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Checking tyres could save your life.

Al Ain Faulty tyres and hot weather are a deadly combination for road users and police and experts say worn out tyres are a leading cause of accidents in the country.

A little attention can save lives and make the road safe for all, according to the police who reported some 31 deaths were caused by tyres bursting last year. These accidents mostly occur on highways.

Tyre experts in Al Ain have also asked traffic police to launch a campaign against worn out tyres before the sweltering summer season sets in. Many drivers are not in the habit of checking their tyres regularly. "It is dangerous negligence that results in horrific consequences," said Sajjad Ahmad, an expert in tyre safety in Al Ain's Sanaiya, the industrial district.

"It's a serious issue," he said and added motorists need to be educated on tyre safety as a majority do not know how to check. Worn out tyres are a main factor in accidents in which drivers' ignorance or negligence play a major role.

Essential checks

"An expert checks the tyres' health just once a year when a vehicle comes for registration renewal. And then nobody bothers to check them again," said Ahmad. It is a technical matter and a tyre safety expert must be consulted regularly, he said.

Tyre safety depends on various factors including weather, use of brakes, wheel balance, the vehicle's load, air pressure, age of the tyres, and the original quality of the tyres. They must be inspected thoroughly at least once a month, he said.

Ahmad said air pressure in tyres is very important in hot weather. This pressure must be in accordance with the vehicle's specification mentioned in the manual. "I will recommend the use of nitrogen gas instead of simple air that gets less hot even in harsh weather conditions," he said.


Rakaish Khurana, another tyre safety expert in Al Ain, said people normally go for cheaper options when it comes to buying new tyres. The market is full of substandard tyres. "I have noticed that people are more concerned about price rather than quality and safety," he said.

Quality tyres should be used in the vehicles instead of buying cheap, low-quality tyres. A good quality tyre can withstand temperatures of 250 degrees Centigrade, providing enhanced safety against tyre bursts, he said.

He said most drivers do not understand the importance of tread depth. This depth must be at least 1.6mm. "I recommend tyres be changed when this depth reaches 3mm depending on weather conditions, the use of the vehicle, road conditions, and a car's fitness including wheel balancing and alignment," said Khurana. People need to be very careful when they buy a used vehicle as they are not aware of the condition of the tyres. "They must be replaced immediately even if their age is less than three years in some cases." he added.

A traffic police officer said tyres are a major concern when it comes to road safety. The Ministry of Interior has recently released statistics saying 720 people lost their lives on UAE roads last year of which 31 deaths were associated with tyre- related accidents. Though this number is slightly less than the previous year much still needs to be done.

main areas

safety aspects

n Air pressure: Do not neglect air pressure. Low pressure damages the tyres and high pressure could lead to a blown tyre. Air pressure must also be maintained in accordance with a particular vehicle's specifications. Tyres must also be correctly inflated.

n Tread depth: It is vital for tyres to keep grip on the road. Low tread depth compromises the effectiveness of brakes and steering ability of vehicles. The minimum legal depth is 1.6mm, but don't wait for it and replace the tyres even before it gets to this level.

n Wheel alignment: This helps in reducing wear and tear and stress on the tyres. It also enhances balance and steering ability of a car.

n Wheel balancing: The health of all of the tyres is important for a safe road trip and wheel balancing is also critical for this. An out of balance tyre increases wear and tear and compromises safety. It can cause annoying shakes and dangerous mechanical damage in the vehicle.

n Tyre rotation: Good health of tyres demands routine rotation. After every five to seven thousand kilometres, experts suggest tyre rotation to maintain equal use of centre and shoulders of the rear and front tyres.

-- A.K.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 9, 2012
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