Back in my younger, reckless days, I would spend a lot of time driving chaotically in my Citroen Saxo VTR. One of my tactics was driving horribly close to the car in front if I felt that it was moving too slowly. Note, this an idiotic way to drive for two reasons:
- You’re never going to persuade the driver in front to go quicker by bullying them.
- It is incredibly dangerous – anyone heard of adequate stopping-distance?
Thankfully I wised-up and ceased driving like buffoon. Actually, these days I’m more likely to be found giving other drivers (such as the above ‘Tailgating Road-Bully’) a very wide berth indeed.
There are the ‘Sunday Drivers’. Those folk who rarely venture out in their cars, and when they do, are so out of practice that they seem to be completely inept at negotiating basic road layouts. I watch them like a hawk, as they’re likely to veer into my lane without warning, not even realising that there were two lanes to choose from.
There are the ‘Sat-Navers’. Those people who are paying more attention to the teeny tiny screen of their satnav than the actual road and cars around them. Hope that one of these distracted individuals are not behind you, as you might end up having to prise their car from your rear bumper.
There are the ‘Speeders’, zooming in and out of lanes, inching further ahead, missing other cars by millimetres and not really making any progress (because this is London, people – and the traffic is dense and relentless).
However, out of all of the dicey driving I observe on the roads, the ones that ring the loudest alarm bells are the people with dodgy tyres.
You can spot them a mile off. They’ll be sporting saggy, under-inflated tyres, or worse, tyres with illegal tread depth. All you have to do is spot that the depth markers are flush with the rest of the tyre, and you know that they have absolutely no chance at controlling their car under wet conditions. Because it does rain here from time to time.
I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been on the verge of getting out of my car to tell people about their floppy tyres. It is so easy to check your tyre pressures at the petrol station, particularly when many stations offer free air. But if you’re not sure, you can go to your local garage for some help.
But guess what? Driving with under-inflated tyres not only dangerously impairs the handling of your vehicle, it is also costing you money with fuel-inefficiency. Yes, you’re burning more fuel by running on under-inflated tyres.
And folks, if I can spot dodgy tyres from my drivers’ seat, then good luck to sneaking them past the police. Because if the sheer danger of using substandard tyres isn’t adequately frightening, you are in with a chance of incurring a whopping great fine of £2500 per tyre if caught, not to mention points on your licence. Ouch.
All that aside, just think about it. No matter how brilliant your car is, or how brilliant your driving is, the only things in contact with the road are your tyres. If your tyres aren’t in tiptop condition, what hope have you got at ensuring your vehicle does exactly what you want it do at a crucial moment?
Tyres can be pricey, but I would NEVER advocate for purchasing part-worn tyres. That’s a whole other blog post though. If you want to shop around, by all means do. A great way to start would be visiting a site such as point-s.co.uk, they have a tyre depot in London (my hometown!).
In the meantime, get to grips with checking your tyres. You’ll feel confident and empowered in doing so, but most of all, you can be smug in knowing that you’re not part of the notorious ‘Dodgy Tyre Crew’.
Guys, it’s Tyre Safety Month. For more information on tyre safety – it isn’t as dull as you might think! – head to Tyresafe.org for a wealth of essential information for all drivers.
*This is a collaborative post*