Tag Archives for " tyres in west brisbane "

Warning for drivers in West Brisbane: driver fatigue and poor tyres kill

Tips to stay safe on the roads during school holidays

It’s that time of year again – school holidays. It means many of you could be packing up and heading out on a road trip from West Brisbane into the outback or interstate. Driver fatigue is a factor in as many as one in three road accidents. Poor tyres are a factor in almost as many road accidents. We want you and your family to stay safe, no matter whether you are on a shopping trip in West Brisbane or a family holiday to Perth.

In this article, you’ll read my tips to prevent driver fatigue and ensure your tyres will do the job they are designed for.

How do you know you’re getting tired behind the wheel?

Driver fatigue makes you a worse driver. Your reaction times are slower, and you’ll find it harder to concentrate on the road ahead. It leads to poor judgement. In the worst case, you could suffer a fatal accident.

There are some tell-tale signs that you are suffering from driver fatigue. These include:

  • Heavy eyes and yawning
  • Daydreaming behind the wheel
  • Variable driving speeds
  • Cramping in your legs and arms
  • Impatience behind the wheel

You may also find that your braking becomes more lethargic, your steering less pronounced, and you change gears with a crunch. As tiredness increases, you’re likely to drift across lanes.

When are you most at risk of driver fatigue?

Many fatigue-related road accidents occur at night. However, contrary to popular myth, driver fatigue can happen at any time and isn’t confined to long-distance journeys.

Another myth is that it is the act of driving that makes drivers tired. It’s true that if you drive for hours upon hours, you are going to get tired. But most driver fatigue is a problem caused by lack of sleep before a road trip. You may work long hours or inconsistent shifts. You may have problems sleeping. Perhaps a newborn baby has been keeping you awake most of the night. There are many reasons why you could be tired before you sit behind the wheel.

How to avoid driver fatigue

When your body is in desperate need of sleep, your brain will shut it down. You get advanced warning of this – all those signs of fatigue we discussed a couple of paragraphs earlier. You should listen to them, and take a break. To avoid driver fatigue:

  • Only travel for a maximum of ten hours in a day
  • During a road trip, take regular breaks every couple of hours
  • Share the driving if possible
  • Avoid driving when you would normally be asleep

If you’re planning a long trip, make sure you sleep well the night before – and don’t drink alcohol before you go to bed. Alcohol stays in your system for 24 hours and makes you fatigued.

Now you’re fit for the road, are your tyres?

Okay, you’re ready to drive and fit for your family’s road trip. But are your tyres? When was the last time you checked the tread and tyre pressure? Here are a few basic tips to make sure your tyres are as fit for the journey as you are:

  • A couple of days before you are due to leave, inspect your tyres. Make sure they don’t have bald patches, scuffs, bulges and scrapes. Legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. As soon as the tread reduces to below 3mm, tyre performance will be adversely affected. At 2mm, your braking distance is severely lengthened. If you are concerned about tread depth at all, bring your vehicle to our West Brisbane tyre shop. It isn’t worth the risk to do nothing.
  • Before you leave, check tyre air pressures. Make sure they are at the recommended levels – you’ll find these on the tyre placard on the door jamb or in your vehicle owner’s manual.
  • Make sure that each tyre valve is capped. It protects against dust and water.
  • Don’t forget to make the same checks on your spare tyre.
  • Don’t forget to check the tyres on a trailer or caravan if you are towing.

If you haven’t changed your tyres for five years or more, get them checked. Even if a tyre looks good, tyre rubber degrades because of the effects of weather. Particularly here in Brisbane, UV rays from the sun deplete tyre strength.

Be safe, not sorry. Don’t take any chances. Contact us today and book an appointment for a tyre check.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

Tyres in West Brisbane – Here’s how to save your tyres in wet conditions

Tyres in West Brisbane – Safety tips to avoid punctures in the rain

If there’s one thing we can be sure of in Queensland, it’s that tyres in West Brisbane will be put through their paces. They have to contend with long periods of tropical heat, and downpours that make the Niagara Falls look like a dripping tap. These extremes of weather make driving more difficult, and wet roads increase the risk of punctures.

In this blog, you’ll discover why there are more punctures when it’s raining, and I’ll give you my tips for driving safely in wet road conditions.

Wet rubber cuts up more easily

It’s a fact that wet rubber punctures more easily. The big tyre manufacturers have spent millions trying to develop tyres that are puncture proof.

I’ve seen some theories put forward as reasons for poorer tyre performance on wet roads. All of them have merit. For example:

  • Rain washes more debris onto roads. Flint, nails and thorns that get blown away in dry conditions stick to wet roads.
  • Tyres get sticky on wet roads, and sharp debris sticks more easily, before being forced into the tyre during a couple of revolutions.
  • Acid rain degrades rubber.

Whatever the reason, if you watch this video about the effect of water on agricultural tyres you’ll see just how easily rubber can be cut into when it gets wet. The first time I saw this tyre video, I was shocked at the effect so little water can have on tyres in West Brisbane– especially when you consider how often we all drive in wet conditions.

You’ll notice in the video that the rubber being cut into so easily is almost slick. All the tread has gone. Tread depth and patterns don’t only help a tyre disperse water and keep a grip on the road – depth and tread help to avoid punctures.

You’ll find that every millimetre of tread that is worn away increases the chance of having a blowout. It’s been estimated that when your tyre is down to its last 10% of tread depth, the risk of a puncture more than doubles.

Tell me, do you want to be stuck by the side of a road changing a tyre, struggling with the jack and wheel nuts, and discovering your spare tyre is in worse shape than the punctured tyre, in the pouring rain?

Don’t let your tyres in West Brisbane get washed up in the wet

There’s no way to be 100% certain your tyre won’t get punctured, but you can cut down on the risk.  Here are some puncture prevention tips:

·      Don’t spare the spare

The first thing to do is to understand that your spare tyre is like an insurance policy. You hope you never have to use it, but if it is needed it will be the best you can afford. A lot of cars today have spare tyres designed to get you home, and even then they suggest no more than around 50 kilometres.

When I insure my car, I could go for insurance that does the bare minimum. Instead, I make sure that my No Claims is protected, that I’ve got a great cover for passengers, and that I’ve got legal cover, too. The extra few dollars is worth the peace of mind.

When I inspect the spare, I make sure that it’s a real tyre. That way I know that if the worst should happen, I’ve got a tyre that will get me home from wherever I am. Those few extra dollars I’ve spent are worth the peace of mind every time I step into my vehicle.

·      Check your tyres every week

At least weekly, I check my tyres. I look at them, run my fingers across them, and inspect the tread for stones or other debris. (Actually, that last bit – I do that as a force of habit before every journey.) Doing this tyre test makes sure that I watch the tread on my tyres constantly, and I spot any nicks or bulges straight away. If my tyres need changing, I’m the first to know about it.

I also include the spare tyre in my weekly tyre checking routine, making sure that it is inflated correctly, just like the others.

·      Keep your tyres inflated correctly

You’ll find the correct tyre pressure on a placard on the door jamb or the side of the glovebox. It will also be detailed in the owner’s manual. Never inflate to the numbers on the sidewall of the tyre – they are maximums for the tyre, and not necessarily the correct pressure for that tyre on your vehicle. Also, if you’re driving long distances or with heavy loads, you’ll need to inflate your tyres in West Brisbane appropriately.

·      Check the tyre tread depth

Worn tyres in Brisbane use more fuel, make braking more difficult, and decrease the handling capability of your vehicle.

Here in Queensland, the law says you must maintain at least 1.5mm of tread. If you see any signs of uneven wear, bald patches, or notice coloured bars coming through, bring your vehicle into our tyre shop in Darra − you could have a serious problem, or it may be that your wheels need rebalancing or realigning.

How to drive with wet tyres in West Brisbane

Four wet road techniques are essential to keeping you and your passengers safe when driving in the rain:

1.     Watch your speed

Rain makes roads slippery. It mixes with oil and creates skidpan conditions. On wet roads and when it’s raining, slow down. Not only will you have more time to see what is going on ahead of you, but also the science says that slower driving on wet roads makes for better tyre grip, as more of the tyre’s rubber is in contact with the road for longer.

2.     Keep your distance

Drivers that tailgate are a big bugbear of mine. Drivers that tailgate in the wet are ten times more dangerous. Even when you’re driving at a safer speed, there’s still a chance of skidding on wet roads. If you keep a healthy distance between you and the vehicle ahead, you’ll have more time to brake. You won’t have to slam the anchors on. Steady braking helps to avoid skids. Always drive with a distance of at least two car lengths between you and the car in front.

3.     How to recover from a skid

Skids can be pretty scary. If you do start skidding, don’t hit the brakes even harder. Ease back, keep a steady pressure on the brake pedal, and steer in the direction of the skid.

4.     Deal with aquaplaning

On slick, wet roads, aquaplaning is always a possibility. It’s caused by driving too fast through the water. Your speed doesn’t allow the tyre tread to do its job properly, and a film of water is created between the tyre and the tarmac. You lose traction, and instead of gripping the road you glide along it.

Don’t hit the brake! If you do, you will simply stop the wheel rotating, and it will take longer for water to disperse. The aquaplane will last longer.

Instead, take your foot off the accelerator, hold the steering wheel steady, change down a gear and apply the brakes gently. By doing this, the ‘engine brake’ (the way the car naturally slows when you take your foot off the accelerator) will help you to slow down. Once you’ve slowed enough, you’ll feel grip return, and you can continue on your way more safely (and slowly).

If you experience excessive skidding or aquaplaning, it’s likely that your tyres need changing or rotating.  Contact us today (by Skype, telephone, or on our contact form) and book an appointment to have your tyres checked in West Brisbane.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood