10 rules of a safe summer trip
What do drivers need to take into account before traveling?
The long-awaited time of summer trips has come. 76% of Poles choose a car for the means of transport during domestic travel. What to do to avoid frustration and problems when traveling to our destination? How to equip the car? What can drivers do to guarantee themselves and their family safety? PTIA advises how to prepare for summer trips.
- Be sure to check the condition of tyres and rims – look closely at each wheel or go to an autoshop. Remember that when driving at 130 km/h, the tyre rotates more than 1000 times per minute. Any damage to the tyres in this situation is a threat to the life of the driver and other road users. If the tyre shows cracks, cuts or bulges it is damaged and exposes the driver and passengers to the risk of a serious accident.
- Check the tyre pressure. Thanks to this, you will save on fuel, and at the same time improve the grip and steering of the car and shorten the braking distance. And you avoid destroying your own tyres. The proper value of this parameter is set by the manufacturer of the car – information on this subject can be found in the vehicle’s manual or on the sticker on the central pillar. The pressure measurement must be carried out on cold tyres or after driving no more than 2 km. Driving with too low pressure can cause the inner layers of the tyre to warm up and tear while driving.
- Measure the depth of the tread. It should be at least 1.6 mm in the absence of so-called wear indicators on the tyre. On the occasion of the trip, however, you should check the tyre manufacturer's recommendations for a safe tread depth. Proper depth of tread will ensure good grip of the car, also during summer storms.
- Check the spare wheel (if it is a part of the vehicles inventory) – it must also be checked for damage and pressure. If you do not have a compressor, it will be difficult to inflate it on the route. In the case of a flat tyre, a spare tyre will reduce the repair time, so you can get to your destination faster and safer.
- Summer or brand name all-season tyres are key for safe driving during holidays. Using winter tyres in the summer is a huge risk – both to the driver's health and the contents of his wallet. The braking distance of a car on winter tyres from 100 km/h to a full stop can be up to 16 m longer than on summer tyres. It is worth remembering that insurers may refuse to pay up if the driver caused an accident on tyres not adapted to the road conditions.
- Remember not to overload the car. The car and tyres have their limits of durability, and that also applies to maximum load – the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations can be found in the car manual. Also, do not place luggage above the rear seats, because it seriously limits the visibility of the driver. In addition – if you do not have a special cargo barrier or net – there is a risk that the luggage will fall forward.
- Take a basic set of tools and a tow rope with you. It's better to be safe than sorry – you never know what can happen while you're driving. It often happens that there is a small malfunction that can be dealt with using a screwdriver, but we do not have it at hand.
- Before leaving, it is worth visiting a renowned workshop to thoroughly inspect the car, including tyres. Thanks to the robust control of the most important car parts, we will avoid unexpected failures. A professional team of mechanics will check the condition of tyres, suspension, brakes or cooling system.
- Current MOT certificate and possession of civil liability insurance will help to avoid a lot of unpleasantness in the event of an unplanned accident. Prior to your departure, remember to check carefully whether your insurance will be valid during your travel period
- A good driver is a rested and careful driver. When driving at the speed of 100 km/h and more just a moment of distraction can have serious consequences. You never know when you’ll need to brake and only a quick reaction time can protect you and other road users from an accident. While driving, keep the right distance from the car in front of you – a good rule is to keep the distance of 3 seconds driving from the car which we are driving behind. Take water and snacks with you – even on highways there may be several hours of traffic jams.
– When organizing holiday travels, we often forget about driving safety. Properly preparing the car for holiday travels will save us a lot of stress on the road. I encourage drivers to control the condition of the tyres after loading the luggage. Abrasions, bulges, bubbles, tread below the minimum depth of 1.6 mm – all these things disqualify the tyre. Such tyres must be replaced as soon as possible. Let's also take care of the optimal pressure in tyres – driving with low pressure will cause the outer layers of tyre to overheat, which may lead it bursting. Tyres are the only element of the vehicle in contact with the road and at the same time the second – in the turbo cars the third – fastest rotating mechanical element. There is no room for mistakes here. Safety systems and sensors derive information from tyres, which is why their quality and very good condition is extremely important. The application of several basic rules regarding the preparation of a car before departure will have a real impact on the safety level of drivers and their families during summer trips – emphasizes Piotr Sarnecki, general director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA).
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Statistics Poland, Turism in 2017, Warsaw, 2018
Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association