With the ‘liquid sunshine’ that we have experienced all ‘summer’, perhaps it is a good time to give some thought to tyres and how we trust them to keep us safe.

Some food for thought:

  • Our expensive personal transport system relies on just four points of contact, each of them little bigger than a man’s footprint, to keep us on track.
  • After a children’s party, the balloons often go soft overnight. Although our four black balloons are more expensive, we can’t trust them not to do the same.
  • Travelling at 60mph across standing water, each tyre can disperse up to four gallons of water per second. That’s a lot of water!
  • When a tyre’s tread is less than half its original depth, it is logical to expect it to perform correspondingly less efficiently in clearing the water and keeping your ‘tyres on tarmac’.

When driving through water, as road speed rises, a wedge of water starts to develop in front of the tyre, just like a wedge of pastry in front of a cook’s rolling pin. With good tyre tread and moderate speeds, the water disperses around the tyre and through the tread pattern. However, with reduced tread depth, deeper water and higher speeds, eventually the tyre starts ‘water-skiing’ or aquaplaning. At that point, the driver is in trouble and with no ‘tyre on tarmac’, there is:

  • No directional control. The car will simply go where momentum takes it, regardless of whom or what is in the way.
  • No ability to brake. Once the car is ‘floating’, forget ‘stopping distances’.
  • No power to accelerate.

The driver has two choices, either hold on tight and pray, or see the problem developing and act quickly to either avoid the standing water or slow down before hitting it.

But, all this presupposes that the driver understands the relationship between tyre tread depth, road speed and surface water depth, allowing him to make such informed decisions. Given that most drivers are simply taught to pass a test, rather than learn to drive, can you afford to assume that your drivers know and understand this?

It’s not surprising then that the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and subsequent legislation expects employers to carefully assess and identify risks, and to provide appropriate training where it is needed.

Do you? Can we help you? Call Cardinus Fleet on 01733 426015 or email info@cardinus.com.

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