ROAD SAFETY ARTICLE

 

On Saturday the 24th of February, 2018, I received a very exciting text message that made me grow taller than my Julius Agwu look alike height. The text was so encouraging that my head swelled and has remained swollen since .The sender who lives in Aba, the industrial hub of Abia State is someone I am looking forward to meeting someday. I must confess that I am humbled by Dr Nduagu encouraging words despite the numerous and unforgiving errors which he kindly pointed out in his reactions and for which I sincerely apologize to my readers. Dr Nduagu is the third reader after Sir Victor Anoliefo of the Abuja Literary Society and Ibrahim

Mairiga, a civil servant in Abuja the Federal Capital Territory whose observations I cherish. I also cherish others readers whose comments through texts or emails I must have missed or forgotten for reasons beyond by my control.

As I conclude sharing  this piece which i sourced, I must first fulfill the promise I made to my Muslim readers last week when after quoting from Deuteronomy 30:19 from the Holy Bible, I promised to seek the help of my Muslim colleagues on what the Holy Koran says about life and death. Although what I got does not truly reflect what I want but since I made a promise, I have chosen to use this for now and it reads thus;Quran 10 verse 56: He give life and causes Death, and to him you will be returned (Surah Yunus)Quran 45 verse 24-25: They say, ‘There is nothing but our present life; we die, and we live, and nothing but time destroys us.’ Of that they have no knowledge; they merely conjecture. And when Our revelations are recited to them, their only argument is that they say, ‘Bring us our father, if you speak truly.’” ( Sural Al-jathiyah 45:24-25)

Back to the business of the day; do you know how old your tyres are? Do you know the age of your tyres? Are your tyres expired?  Now if you think these questions are not important, kindly reflect on the number of lives lost as a result of road traffic crashes caused by tyre burst and remember the circumstance and events that led to the death of a  serving Minister. Remember also   the cases I cited last week and please make the choice to take special care of your tyres. Available research findings suggest that only a handful of drivers can assess the age of their tyre and know the right time to change. Most drivers do not think it is important but the performance of tyres actually deteriorates as they age. The clear evidence is that tyres have an expiration date and that older tyres are more likely to fail than newer ones. This is because tyres are made mostly of rubber which degrades with age. Sunlight, heat, ice, and general wear and tear can accelerate the breakdown of a tyre. Once a tyre begins to break down, it becomes more likely to fail in the form of a tread separation–often at highway speeds, when the failure is most likely to cause fatal crash resulting in deaths.

For most tyres, the expiration date should be  from the date of manufacture.  Tyres I must repeat again, age dangerously because of a chemical process commonly referred to as oxidation, which simply means that as the tyre components are exposed to oxygen, the oxygen particles causes the flexible components of the tyre to harden and become brittle. Over time, the tyre will fall apart under normal stress, just like an old rubber band. Since this process occurs naturally, it does not matter if a tyre is being used, stored as a spare, or simply waiting on a store shelf for an unsuspecting consumer. Available   studies conclude that tyres begin to weaken and fall apart as they age. The tyre aging process happens regardless of whether the tyre is on a vehicle or in a temperature-controlled room. It also states that most tyres begin to significantly degrade around five years from the date of manufacture and like I said earlier, “Tyres contain anti-oxidising chemicals to slow the rate of ageing, but they need to be in use for these to be effective. Infrequent use or poor storage of even a new and standard tyre can accelerate the ageing process and make tyres un-roadworthy. Low mileage and older cars tend to be most at risk from premature ageing.”So it is important to ensure that you do not toy with your life and that of your loved ones by the choices you make.

As a driver, you should know the date your tyres were manufactured usually displayed on the sidewall in the form of four numbers usually preceded by the letters. The manufactured date is a Department of Transportation (DOT) code of 10 or 11 characters embossed on the inside of the tire These numbers represent the week number and year; so 3410 will be week 34,in the year  2010. Use that information to make sure you are buying tyres with the longest shelf life possible. This simple information was my guide when I went for new tyres but was offered tyres which had already spent a year and some months on the shelf.

So, as a driver, you must always protect yourself when buying new tyres by asking for the newest tires available just like I did when I entered into a healthy debate with my dealer whose interest like most businesses is profit while my concern and yours should always be safety. You should always look at the tyre’s manufacture date; for new tyres, the code is always 11 characters. However, tyres manufactured before the year 2000 have a 10-character code. This code is the most important piece of information about a tyre. The last four digits of the DOT code represent the manufactured date of the tyre; the last two digits like I said earlier refer to the year the tyre was manufactured while the first two digits identify the week number within that year.  Avoid the gamble of keeping and using outdated tyres in the name of saving money and ultimately losing your life.