Summer is always a challenging time for motorists in the MENA region. The fact that this year Ramadan also falls during the summer and many people are fasting poses an additional challenge as drivers who are fasting and hot are under a lot of stress and may not react quickly to avoid an accident. The roads are more congested and there are more accidents due to tire blowouts and lapses in concentration.
Bridgestone has shared a few guidelines that would help drivers to stay cool and safe this summer.
1. Tire condition
The tires play a key role in road safety as they are your only point of contact with the road, irrespective of the time of the year. Start with a close inspection of the overall condition of the tires. Examine them closely for any cuts or punctures in the tire wall and tread which may lead to a puncture or sudden blowout.
2. Tire tread
The next step is to examine the tire tread thoroughly. The recommended minimum tread depth is 1.6mm (this figure can vary depending on the country) but drivers are advised not to wait until the tread is close to the legal limit to replace the tires. They can check the tread depth using an inexpensive depth gauge which is available at most petrol stations, or look for the Tread Wear Indicator on the tire itself, which becomes visible once the tread reaches 1.6mm.
3. Tire pressure
The tire pressure is another factor that needs to be monitored periodically. The maximum permissible inflation pressure is shown on the tire sidewall, but inflating to this level when temperatures are really high can result in a dangerous blowout. The vehicle manufacturer’s specified tire pressure is based on the particular model and takes into account several parameters like the load, ride, and handling characteristics, so it would be better to stick to this figure. You’ll find the recommended pressure on the gas cap cover, your driver door, or in your vehicle owner’s manual.
4. Brake pad wear
While inspecting the tires, be sure to also check the brakes. The two simplest ways to do so are by looking and listening. Check for wear visually by peering through the wheel spokes where you should see the outer pad pressed against the disk. If only 3mm or less of pad material is visible, you need to fit a new set. Using this method however means that you can see only one pad and the second brake pad might have even greater wear. Hence, to make sure the brakes are in good condition, it is recommended to get it inspected by professionals at a garage you trust.
5. Engine coolant
Even if you’re only making short local trips to work, family, and the occasional iftar tent, adequate engine coolant is an absolute must, given the region’s rising temperatures. The recommended time to change varies by manufacturer, so again, be sure to check the owner’s manual before topping up. It’s important to use the same coolant that’s already in the engine where possible, and be sure to only check the levels while the engine is cold. To do so, open the bonnet, locate the reservoir (see your manual), and search out the low and high markers on the side of the reservoir. Coolant is almost always coloured, so you can easily see what level it’s at.
Finally, check the vehicle lights. Not only do they illuminate the road ahead, they also inform other drivers of your presence and intentions. With the help of a family member or friend, take a few minutes to check the brake lights, headlamps, sidelights and taillights, plus the indicators and hazards. Replacing bulbs isn’t always simple, and often comes down to your vehicle. You may need to have this done by professionals.
Make road safety a priority this summer and stay safe with these tips.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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