Driving over potholes can alter the vehicle’s steering and suspension geometries or damage critical components which can reduce vehicle safety or generate extra running costs. By ensuring wheels are correctly aligned, drivers can minimise the effects of any pothole damage and ensure they remain as safe as possible.
“The recent bad weather will inevitably increase the number of potholes we see on our roads which can cause a number of serious safety issues for drivers,” explains Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “If a car’s wheels are not correctly aligned it may pull to one side or cause vibrations in the steering wheel which can be distracting and make the vehicle difficult to control. By visiting your local garage or tyre dealer they will be able to perform some simple checks to make sure the wheels are correctly aligned, helping you to stay safe.”
According to the AA, last February’s heavy snow increased insurance claims for pothole damage by more than 250 percent. With the current prolonged spell of snow and freezing conditions, road damage is expected to be even worse this year.
As well as the safety benefits offered by correct wheel alignment, motorists can also reduce their running costs. When a vehicle’s wheels are properly aligned, it is less likely to suffer from premature tyre wear as the tyres point in the correct direction, reducing any ‘scrubbing’ action on the road surface. This also helps to reduce the rolling resistance of the tyres meaning that fuel costs are also reduced.
“When a driver has their wheel alignment checked, the garage will also be able to give the tyres a proper inspection to ensure they have not suffered any damage from the pothole,” continues Jackson. “Cuts or bulges in a tyre mean that it is likely to have suffered some serious internal damage making it unsafe and illegal. The garage will also be able to check that the tyres have adequate tread depth and the correct pressure, both essential for safe driving.”
For further information about tyre safety visit www.tyresafe.org.
TyreSafe is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of the dangers of defective and worn tyres. TyreSafe has campaigned consistently to underline the importance of tyre safety for more than 15 years and was rewarded with the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2001. TyreSafe receives positive support from many major tyre manufacturers and retailers, and has been credited with reducing the number of defective tyres in the UK over the past decade from 18% to 12%. TyreSafe is a signatory to the European Road Safety Charter which was launched in 2004 with the aim of halving the number of deaths on European roads by 2010.
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