Are you Tyred-Out ?Written by Robin Piggott
Are…. YOU …… Tyred – Out ? ?
Tyres and How to look after them
TYRES ARE COOL!
Tyres are one aspect of a Car that are often overlooked until disaster strikes and in this section we are going to examine all aspects of tyre care and maintenance so that you will stay safe and arrive alive. “ARRIVE ALIVE” Astral School of Motoring,s new Blog at:- http://astralmotoring.blogspot.com
1.Tyres wear out………. just like any other component in a car, only more so. You need to keep a constant eye on your tyres since they are one thing that keeps you on road, apart of course, from your observation! 2.Legal limit 1.6mm……….but at this point you are over 80% gone….Soooh they should be replaced before this tread depth is reached! 3.Tyre Pressures…..the Manufacturers recommended pressures you will find in your manual and also printed inside your fuel filler cap. These are for Factory –Fitted tyres…..other makes or sizes of tyre may require different pressures, so check with your Tyre Shop for advice. The manufacturers will always give you two settings of Tyre pressure…one for car with Driver and one passenger….one for car with a full load. Its important to further inflate tyres when you have a full load, particularly if you are going on a long journey that involves high –speed carriageway or Motorway driving. Underinflated tyres are unsafe; don’t give you good road holding ;wear out much more quickly; create extra drag which means higher fuel consumption; and give your passengers and uncomfortable ride. If you have young children in rear seat be prepared for car sickness! 4.Cuts –Splits – Bulges……….are easy to acquire, if you play footsie with kerbs and potholes. Mounting Kerb can damage sidewall of tyre either invisibly or very visibly. Tyre sidewalls are much thinner than tyre tread and so are easily damaged. .A bulge indicates severe damage to side wall and this will require immediate replacement of tyre. There is a danger of a blow-out occurring at high speed with a damaged tyre. Pot-holes, by their very nature have sharp edges and going over one at any kind of speed, will often lead to a puncture, or worse, complete destruction of tyre ,not to mention your beautiful ,newly acquired Alloy wheels. 5.The Spare Wheel……is often forgotten about and should be included in your weekly tyre pressure check. The tyre will lose its pressure over time and it’s a real nuisance and a danger, to get a puncture, miles from anywhere, and then find that your spare tyre is flat! You are then side-lined with obvious delays in getting hold of a mobile tyre service, but perhaps worse is possibility of creating a major obstruction on road with your stranded car. A car that cannot be moved off road creates a serious accident hazard. 6.Punctures…..What to do when you get one? It’s very important to know how to change a wheel, following a puncture, whether you are a Guy or a Girl! Changing a wheel is relatively simple, providing you have correct equipment and utilise correct technique. However it is not always easy or safe. In next section we will discuss this in more detail but in meantime if you are a Lady drive and some difficulty with this exercise; providing you get all your tools out and look as if you know what you are doing, then it is very likely that a passing motorist will stop and assist you and get you motoring again in a few minutes. 7.Equipment…….The wheelbrace that comes with your car when it is new, we have found to be sometimes ineffective when trying to release wheel nuts if your wheel has either not been removed for a very long time, or has been overtightened by gun in use in a garage or tyre shop. We have got through numerous wheel braces over years which have had to be discarded in favour of professional criss-cross, cast iron brace, which will last you a life time and which you can take with you when you change cars .This type of wheel brace has four different size sockets and will, because of it’s tremendous leverage, enable you to loosen most stubborn of nuts. An added bonus of carrying one of these is that you will be able to help any other Motorist who is having trouble with his wheel. Final tip here is to mask socket which fits your wheels with some red insulating tape so that you can easily identify this in dark. A lot of punctures happen at night or in a snow storm so you can do a lot to make things easier and safer for you. The jack should be in boot with rest of kit but do check if you are buying an older second hand car, that you have one…you might need it around next corner! !
The Irish Driving Scene.An Instructors Perspective.Written by Robin Piggott
The Irish Driving Scene.An Instructors Perspective
The Driving Environment
Today’s motoring environment is very different to that of thirty or even fifteen years ago for a number of key reasons and we will examine these to get an idea of kind of skills needed to survive in today’s world and stay accident free. For first time in over one hundred and fifty years our population has exceeded 4 million and continues to increase steadily. Demographics The age of our population is quite unique and according to 2002 census there are approximately 640,200 people in 15 – 24 age bracket who are in, or approaching, age at which they will want to drive. Lets be clear on this point …every person in today’s Ireland will aspire to drive and own a car in this prosperity environment, for career, family and social reasons .In past until you had potential to be able to own a car it was quite common not to bother to learn to drive. Those that needed to get to work from a distance tended to rely on neighbours and friends or relatives to be ever present chauffeur. It’s very common today for an exodus from city limits out to open country to live, with huge numbers of houses, sorry mansions; being constructed at seemingly breakneck speed. The draw of country air and sweet sounds of birds in morning seems to be an irresistible magnet for city dweller. A car or three is taken for granted. Of course , we are a nation of keen gardeners now and regular trip to garden centre could not be undertaken by public transport because it doesn’t exist in most rural areas. All of this means that we have a far greater number of cars and drivers on road than thirty years ago and at different times of day due to many variations in working hours. So there is hardly a time when you are unlikely to meet another vehicle. Six am during working week can be just as dangerous as five thirty rush hour. Learner Drivers Current numbers of learner Drivers are estimated at 350,000 and this continues to be swelled by increase in our immigrant population, both expatriates and non-nationals setting up home here for first time. The waiting list for a Driving Test has reached an all time high due mainly to these demographics, but also to relatively small number of Driving Examiners . This situation is being addressed at moment with probability of an outside agency being drafted in to undertake a further 40,000 Driving Tests over course of a year .While it is unfortunate that all drivers have to wait such a long time in order to sit their Test it is an opportunity for them to learn some very essential skills and to prepare well for Test. It is very common for candidates to leave their lessons to last moment which very often produces a negative result. Worse still, is mistaken belief that longer one is driving greater chance of passing Driving Test. Without professional lessons chances of passing Test are pretty remote; but more crucial will be lack of basic skills leading to accidents which can and should be preventable .Passing Driving Test, while certainly a milestone in a person’s driving career, is only beginning of a life –long process not end. Professional Tuition Safe Driving for Life can be achieved, with correct mind set and knowledge that good basic driving skills are foundation for learning process and need to be provided by Professional Instructors and not relatives or friends. Practise with Mum or Dad is very useful but only in conjunction with proper Tuition. Being able to move a car down road and perhaps change a gear or two and even steer out of trouble is not level of skill needed to stay alive and is about as far from required Driving Test standard as we are from Moon.(about 250,000 miles, sorry 400,000Km at last count).I am not suggesting that we need to drive a quarter of a million miles