7 spring tips for drivers

It’s a season for safety – take care of your tyres
When to change to summer tyres? How to check the condition of tyres after winter? When to check tyre pressure? Which auto repair shop should you choose to make sure your tyres will not get damaged? Are the tyre pressure sensors in tyres reliable? How to dispose waste tyres? How to avoid getting a ticket for defective tyres? Seven spring tips for drivers will help you take care of tyres and improve road safety.

Not only the driver's skills, but also the proper condition of a car – especially the quality of tyres and their technical condition – are responsible for safe driving. They are the only point of contact between the vehicle and the road. Regularly checking the condition of tyres will significantly extend their life span – during a dangerous situation on the road, it can decide on the length of the braking distance of the car and avoiding hitting an obstacle or a pedestrian. Unfortunately, as many as 58% of drivers check the tyre pressure too rarely[1]. Tyres of good quality and suitable for the given season are key to road safety – Piotr Sarnecki, general director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA).


Ways to take care of tyres during spring:

1.            Do not rush to change from winter to summer tyres

Only when the temperature in the morning and evening exceeds 7°C you can switch to the summer set without the risk of skid or longer braking distance. It is worth remembering that in the spring the roadways are often wet – and in such conditions, at temperatures lower than 7°C, good quality winter tyres are still better.

2.            Do you have all-season tyres? Check their condition after winter!

If you drive on all-season tyres, you should not avoid visiting a good auto shop. After winter, it is worth checking the alignment of wheels and condition of tyres – whether they have cracks or bulges, especially on the inner layers and inner wheel arch. It’s hard to notice some damages with the naked eye – it is worth visiting a good auto shop. Remember – a damaged tyre may burst while driving!

3.            Do not use random auto shops

You can only get a professional service in a trusty auto shop – that is a service done by a qualified team of car mechanics, using professional and regularly serviced tools. This guarantees that our tyres and rims will not be damaged by worn tools and improper mounting or dismounting of tyres, and the wheels will be properly bolted to the wheel hubs. Professional auto shop will also take care of wheel balancing and check the condition of brakes and suspension after the winter season – driving comfort will increase, and steering wheel and vehicle vibrations will subside.

4.    Remember about pressure!

It is one of the most important parameters ensuring proper control over the car. Low pressure in tyres lengthens the braking distance, worsens the car's grip, accelerates tyre wear and reduces fuel efficiency. When the pressure is 30-40% too low, the tyre heats up to a temperature at which serious internal damage occurs – which can lead to its breakage while driving. Drivers should have the habit of checking the tyre pressure level at least once a month – this should be done on cold tyres or after driving no more than 2 km.


5.            Pressure sensors do not exempt from vigilance

In new cars homologated after November 2014, TPMS must be installed[2] – a tyre pressure monitoring system that alerts drivers when the level of pressure in tyres declines while driving. The Polish Tyre Industry Association recommends regularly checking tyre pressure level even in such tyres – regardless of what the sensors indicate. The tyre pressure levels set by the given car’s manufacturer can be found in the car’s manual and on the label inside the car (which usually can be found at the bottom of the middle pillar of the car, on the driver’s side).

6.            Worn tread is one of the most common defects in tyres – watch out for a ticket!

The law is clear in this case – the depth of the tread pattern, in the absence of the so-called wear indicators on the tyre should not be less than 1.6 mm[3]. Neglecting this regulation, we risk the suspension of vehicle registration certificate and getting a fine of up to 500 zł, but more importantly – we put ourselves and others in danger. Worn tread makes the vehicle's grip is significantly worse, which makes it easier to slip, and when driving in the rain, aquaplaning may occur, i.e. loss of traction caused by a layer of water, which builds between the wheels of the vehicle and the road surface.

7.    Are you buying new tyres? Take care of the disposal of used ones

The Polish Tyre Industry Association reminds that it is the driver's responsibility to ensure that the used tyres are properly disposed of. It is best to hand them over to a good auto shop, which will then hand them over them to professional companies dealing with their recycling. Used tyres for passenger cars cannot be re-saled, because they can put drivers in danger – they can burst during driving. Thanks to the legal circulation of used tyres, provided by, among others, the Tyre Utilization Center, we can be sure that after a few years of them ensuring safety of us and our families, they will enter the recycling process and be re-used for other purposes – instead of spoiling the landscape of meadows and forests in the summer.

Annually, 1,35 million people lose their lives on roads around the world as a result of accidents[4]. Poland, among 175 countries, is in the 52nd position, with an index of 9.7 killed per 100 000 residents – and the mean number of deaths amounts to 3 698. These are some of the worst data in the European Union, which shows that as drivers we need to pay more attention to the technical condition of our cars. We have better roads and infrastructure, but the number of accidents and their victims is not decreasing. Bad technical condition of the car – including tyres – is the direct cause of 1/3 of road accidents[5]. After the winter season, it is worth to review the condition of out vehicle in a trusty, professional auto shop – that way we can detect defects earlier and avoid dangerous situations during spring and summer trips – adds Piotr Sarnecki.

[1] Moto Data 2017 - Car users panel

[2] A regulation introducing the requirement to equip each new car sold in the European Union with the TPMS system came into force in November 2014

[3] § 11, Clause 7, Sub-clause 4 of the Ordinance of the Minister of Infrastructure setting out technical requirements applicable to vehicles as well as the scope of the necessary equipment

[4] World Health Organization (WHO); 2016.

[5] PTIA Report - "The impact of tyres on road safety", November 2018

Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association