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,