Tyres are essential to vehicle and road safety as they provide necessary functions such as braking and steering. As they are the only point of contact between a vehicle and the road, tyres need to be maintained to ensure their effectiveness and safety when driving on the road. Despite this, research suggests that there is a lack of care for tyres in many different industries which is putting drivers at risk.
There are two key tyre components that all drivers and operators need to be aware of – tyre pressure and tyre tread.
When a tyre fails, it often impacts on the ability to control the vehicle, significantly increasing the risk of a fatal accident. There are many explanations for tyre failure, with the most common being a lack of attention to inflation pressure.
When a tyre is under-inflated it does not function properly. It wears the tyre tread down more quickly, it burns more fuel and it compromises braking and steering. Despite this, tyre pressure is often overlooked by both operators and drivers. A study by TyreSafe Australia found that 60% of tyres were underinflated after a random inspection. You only need to spend five minutes per week checking that the vehicles tyre pressure is correct. This small action can significantly reduce the risk of a road accident.
There are three steps involved in tyre check.
1. Check the vehicle manufacturers minimum inflation requirements:
The minimum inflation requirements are usually located on a placard on the driver side door frame, inside the glove box or in the car’s manual.
2. Check tyre pressure:
Most Australian petrol stations have automatic tyre inflation machines that you can use to check tyre pressure. We recommend that you check tyre pressure and inflate tyres when they are cold or when your car has been parked for three hours or more.
3. Fill your Tyres:
Once you have determined the minimum inflation requirements and checked the pressure, you can fill your tyres accordingly using a tyre inflation machine. If the inflation machine allows you to set the desired pressure, then enter the pressure in kPa or PSI. You can then attach the air compressor hose and your tyre will inflate automatically.
The tread on a tyre creates traction for braking and steering. New tyres will usually have a tread of approximately 8mm. As the tyre tread wears down over time, its ability to disperse water reduces and it, therefore, takes longer to brake. A worn tyre with a tread depth of 1.5mm will increase braking distance by up to 38% compared to a new tyre.
When the tyre is worn to the legal limit requirement, you will notice the wear indicators in line with the tyre tread. Corporate Driver Training Australia recommends that a tyre should be replaced when tread depth reaches 3mm.
Tyre Care Safety
Tyre care should form part of your workplace road safety guidelines to ensure that your workers are protecting themselves and others on the road. Taking care of your tyers is a simple and effective way to maximise safety on the road. Tyres control how we brake and steer the vehicle which is essential to vehicle control. We encourage you to check your tyre pressure and tyre tread weekly to ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive.