Last week, I forgot to inform you that between February to April 2016, seventy road traffic crashes were recorded, attributable to tyre burst. I also forgot to inform you that tyre related crashes were responsible for 5288 vehicles involved in road traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015.However, I did not forget to inform you about my excitement on the stakeholders’ forum on tyre put together by the Federal Road Safety Corps, which I described as a refresher classroom experience for me. The Director- General, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) Dr Paul Angya, like Leicester’s hit man and United Kingdom Premiership new sensation, jimmy vardy caught my attention with his exhaustive presentation titled, promoting tyre safety in nigeria through quality identification and classification. He shared the worry of frsc and other stakeholders on the prevalent tyre ignorance and narrated his experience when some years back, he stumbled on a motorist who had studded tyres with steel studs sticking above the tread meant for ice and snow. When he confronted him on the dangers of such act, the motorist laughed it off, saying that he loves the noise of the steel studs when driving, oblivious of the fact that these steel damage the road quickly.
This is just one of many odd things people do that shows the high level of ignorance on the use of tyre. In a survey conducted by the Corps on the use of tyres on Nigerian roads, these ignorance was demonstrated; in the survey,2,486 vehicles and 10,024 tyres were considered and the result showed that,non expired tyres accounted for39% while expired tyres stood at 61%.The survey on the percentage of vehicles using tokunboh,re-bore and new tyres also showed that the percentage of vehicles using new tyres was 50%,tokunbo 35% while re-bore was 15%.In the case of the percentage of vehicles with all tyres worn-out,it showed that vehicles with complete worn-out tyres was 9%,not complete worn out tyres 91%- some of the tyres that were not worn-out, were expired.
In the case of vehicles with same front tyre brand,it showed that vehicles with mixed brand was 22% while those with same brand was 78%.Alternatively,vehicles with same front and back tyre brand,showed that those with mixed brand was 39%,same brand ;61%.In the case of vehicles with same back tyre brand,mixed brand accounted for 22%, while same brand was78%.The survey equally looked at the critical issue of correct tyre pressure and found out that pounds per square inch (psi) rating,showed that correct tyre pressure (psi)was 60%,incorrect tyre pressure (psi) 40%.Unfortunately,26% of the tyres were over inflated and 14% under inflated. On the number of drivers with knowledge of tyre expiration, those with poor or no knowledge stood at 42% as against those with good awareness- 58%
The survey revealed these as some of the reasons for non compliance with instructions on tyre-many of the local vulcanizers use non-properly calibrated measuring tools while some lack basic knowledge of measurement of tyre pressure.There is arbitrary gauging of tyres without recourse to manufacturer’s specification which is common,ignorance,inability to interpret basic tyre manufacturer information, manufactured /expiry date -load index -speed rating, control challenge, control of tyres coming into the country is made difficult as there are no longer tyre manufacturing companies in the country,re-boring/patching of worn out tyres instead of purchasing new ones and costs.
If there is anything consolation, I must tell you that these findings are not peculiar to our clime only as the DG SON,in his presentation informed us that a survey supported by michelin in the United Kingdom has revealed that six percent (6%) of drivers never check their tyre treads. Arguably the most worrying statistic is found in the 35,700 tyre study referred to spare tyres; 13 percent (13%) were below the minimum tread, 34 percent were damaged and 66 % were wrongly inflated. The results of a study during a tyre safety week in scotland found five million illegal or near bald tyres, showing a rise of 50 percent in the past three years. 15% of drivers checked during the week had at least one tyre below the legal tread depth on 1.6mm. Similar survey done by the frsc reveals that- tyre technology international, 2001.
I have today chosen to continue with information from the Dr Angya lead paper which tried to explain to us what a tyre is and most importantly that it is only through the tyres that vehicles make contact with the road. I don’t know if you are like the friend the DG told us about? if you are not, then you should know that not all tyres are meant for your vehicles as there are classifications for tyre which should always guide you; the road conditions the tyre is suitable for, is marked on the tyre-the tyres could be for the tropics such as ours or for mud and snow;it could also be for animal driven vehicles, commercial/passenger etc as described below: ADV: tyres for animal driven vehicles ,A/S: all-season tyre ,A/T: all-terrain tyre ,C: commercial; tyres for light trucks which is Similar to LT which is also for light truck, ,H/T: highway/terrain tyre for suvs and 4x4s ,lt: ,M+S or M&S: mud and snow tyre ,P: commercial/passenger car tyres ,RF: reinforced tyres ,TL: tubeless ,TT: tube type, tyre must be used with an inner tube. Other tyre classifications: snow tyres with large rubber cleats to cut through snow ,studded tyres with steel studs sticking above the treads for improved traction on ice and snow.
This is an off-road tyre as they damage the roads quickly.
Besides these vital information, you should know what to expect from a tyre and these include comfort ,grip ,ability to carry load (strength) long- lasting ,cost saving .You must also know the quality of a good tyre and how to read a tyre.All of these will save you from unscrupulous tyre dealers and ultimately protect you from avoidable road traffic crashes, injuries or deaths. Before I conclude this week, keep in mind that the Speed rating shows the maximum service speed for a tyre. H means that the tyre has a maximum service speed of 130mph. Please note that this rating relates only to tyre speed capability, and is not a recommendation to exceed legally posted speed limits; always drive within the legal speed limits.