No don’t pull that face. Don’t do what we all do when the adverts come on TV, and hit the fast forward. Bear with me for five minutes because we need to talk about tyres. Chances are you drive a car, or travel in a car with your family on a fairly regular basis. If you don’t, well you may be excused from today’s blog post.
So, why do we need to talk about tyres? Well I will tell you why. They are the only part of your car that touches the road. That grips, that gets you round that corner safely, that react to what the steering wheel or engine are telling them to do. They are designed to react in certain situations in order to keep you, and your family safe. If they are not at their best, well they won’t react in the way you need them to. Bit like us really.
How often do you check your tyres? We should give them at least a glance every time we get in the car. It takes less than a minute to look over four tyres, but when did we last do it? To be honest I can’t remember the last time I did it on my car. I sort of rely on the MOT to make sure my car is fine, and not really do anything for the other 364 days of the year. “They were alright then so they must be alright now” sort of approach. Which is ridiculous really. Especially when you learn that if the police spot you have a defective tyre it can be 3 points on your licence and a £2500 fine. Multiply that by four tyres and well, you lose your licence and more than enough money to pay for a family holiday. And if they aren’t already doing it I am sure it won’t be long before insurance companies start saying that a defective tyre is the cause of an accident, car not maintained blah blah, and they won’t pay out in the event of a claim.
Not really worth the risk is it?
I learned all this last week when Mr B and I were invited by Bridgestone to an event in the west midlands. The aim was teach us about their Drive Guard technology. Now, I am not a technical person so I can’t explain it to you but essentially this translates as “Run Flat” tyres, ie you can drive on them when they are punctured. For 50 miles, at up to 50 miles an hour.
Imagine the scenario: you are off for a day out to see some friends. That might include some motorway driving, and then as you near their house, some pootling along A roads. You don’t realise the lorry that went along the road a few minutes before dropped some debris on to the road. That you then drive over whilst doing 60 miles an hour. It punctures your tyre. Now if you slam the brakes on and scream “what the hell was that?” the chances are your car is going to weave slightly and not stop in the distance you would like it to. And end up in a ditch if you aren’t careful.
If you are lucky enough to keep it under control and come to a stop and to pull over on the side of an A road (no hard shoulder, no lay by) you will have to empty your family out, jack up the car and replace the tyre. If you are lucky enough to have a spare in the boot. So many cars now don’t come with them that you may then be facing a wait for the AA or RAC. And you just know that at this point, it is raining don’t you? It always is when you break down.
Now imagine this scenario, same friends, same car, same route. Same sodding lorry with the same debris on the road. You hit that debris at 60mph with your Bridgestone DriveGuard tyre and you feel a bit of a rumble and the icon on your dashboard flashes to tell you that you have a puncture. You may pull over to inspect said tyre and shake a fist to the sky at your now flat tyre. But your family don’t have to get out of the car, don’t have to stand in the rain. You can carry on to your friend’s house, driving at 50mph if you like so you won’t even be late.
From there you can then consider your options for getting it replaced.
As a mum with three children who all have their own cars the scenario that plays in my head is the puncture at 2am on a B road. Simply put, if they had these run flat tyres on their car I know they will get home safely. They won’t be stranded for hours waiting to be rescued. They can get home and then sort it out from there. I can’t think of anything else that gives me as great a piece of mind.
It is thanks to the construction of the tyre that they are able to do this, it is patented technology that includes “high tech cooling fin design” which redistribute the heat and friction after a puncture. They also have reinforced tyre walls so that they can still support the weight of the car.
There is of course, a caveat to that. You can’t put them on a large SUV type cars because they are too heavy but they can be fitted to most family cars. Though the car must be fitted with “Tyre Pressure Monitoring”. Most new cars are now fitted with this system, it alerts you to a flat tyre with a small symbol on the dashboard, without this you cannot fit these tyres as you need to know that it has kicked in and that you can only do another 50 miles, and shouldn’t exceed 50mph.
So next time you are replacing tyres on your car I really do recommend seeing if you can get these Bridgestone tyres to your car.
After all, what price peace of mind?
Photo credit: Sam Bagnall