Thursday, 7 April 2016

DRIVING WITH CHILDREN | CAR TYRE SAFETY

Driving safely at all times ought to be the first consideration of all motorists, but it becomes especially important when we drive around with children in the car. Younger passengers can be particularly vulnerable in the event of an accident, so most responsible motorists rightly take the time to fit anti-shatter blinds and child car seats. As you can see below we have a front facing car seat for my five year old son and rear facing for my new baby. They have both been correctly fitted and the front facing one has sides, that protect in the case of a side impact collision. I know from family in Ireland that over there a five year old wouldn't be seen in a car seat and it's become common for them to only use a booster seat, but I do not take any chances and thankfully Aaron is unaware of that and hops in no bother. Long may it last.
Our brand new Cybex car seat for my new baby girl
However, the tyres of your car are just as crucial as these safety seats and could make all the difference between a major collision, a minor one, or avoiding unwanted problems all together.

Check Your Tyre Pressure

Many modern cars will prompt you to check tyre pressure if they become deflated, but not all do. You should make sure that your tyres are neither under-inflated nor over-inflated to remain safe on the roads. This means confirming the pressure every few times you fill up your tank. With under-inflated tyres, your ability to swerve around problems, like potholes and debris in the road, becomes diminished. Conversely, over-inflated tyres often mean that the amount of contact you have with the road surface is diminished, preventing you from stopping as quickly as you might need should you have to make an emergency braking manoeuvre. Daddy checks the tyre pressure before EVERY long journey. He pumps up each and every tyre, using the display on the petrol station's air to make sure he does not over inflate them.

Replace Worn Out Tyres

Older tyres simply don't function as well as newer ones. Even before they reach the legal limit you should consider upgrading them so that the car's traction remains in top condition. National dealers, with plenty of choice of the top tyre manufacturers, such as Point S car tyre dealers, tend to be the best option for safe tyres. It is better to opt for these sorts of tyres than budget brands and – from a point of view of safety – it is certainly worth avoiding second hand tyres altogether, even though selling them is a perfectly legal practice, so long as they are not bald or cracked. Tyres are checked on MOTs with good reason and can be a reason for being pulled over by traffic Police. Having bald tyres means your car fails its MOT test, meaning you have the cost of changing them AND booking another test. Of course there is the inconvenience of this too. Financially and for the safety of your passengers and other road users it is worth being preventative with your tyre maintenance. Be vigilant.


Dealing With a Blow Out

If you suffer a blow out, get to a place of safety before trying to change the problem tyre for your spare. This means getting into a flat, well lit place, like a car park, if possible and finding somewhere that the children can be out of the car and safe while you work on jacking up the car and removing the wheel in question. If you cannot reach a good place of safety then don't hesitate to call for roadside assistance when you have younger passengers on board. Your first priority is to keep the kids safe before dealing with the tyre, after all.
 
According to the Road Traffic Act 1988 it is an offence when a person [driver]:
"(a) contravenes or fails to comply with a construction and use requirement as to brakes, steering-gear or tyres, or

(b) uses on a road a motor vehicle or trailer which does not comply with such a requirement, or causes or permits a motor vehicle or trailer to be so used..."
Did you know that your tyres aid your steering, braking and acceleration, as well as carrying the load of the car and providing cushioning and support for a comfortable journey, (in conjunction with your "suspension")? They are therefore not something that should be scrimped on. It is for this reason that the penalties you can face are severe. If pulled over by the Police the sanction could vary from a fine (FPN: fixed penalty notice) right up to potentially being banned from driving depending on the circumstances and the number of tyres affected. You may also receive 3 points. Something that occured all of a sudden, like a tear in a tyre would be viewed more sympathetically than bald tyres as the latter clearly shows the routine checks have not been conducted and may reflect negligence on the part of the driver.
Our car My Bump

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