Monday, July 15, 2013

Guest post : How the Queen's Face Keeps Me Safe

I was at work the other week when I 'overheard' a conversation. A colleague of mine was discussing whether or not he should invest in new tyres or a new surround sound system in his living room. Admittedly, being beaten on FIFA by a 14 year old somewhere in the world, shooting the enemies on Call of Duty or watching Die Hard or other explosive, action packed films with no plot are all undoubtedly experiences that would be enhanced by the addition of unnecessarily large speakers.
I assumed, possibly incorrectly, that my opinion would be highly valued on this matter. I mean, why wouldn't it be? Right? I asked my colleague if he was sure of his need for new tyres. If he hadn't had his tyres checked and was just working on the basis that it had been a certain length of time since he had bought new ones, he may no longer have a decision to make. I continued to impart my wisdom upon the fortunate individual, or unfortunate depending on your view.
We went out to the car park on our lunch break, armed with nothing more than a 20p coin. If you look at a 20p coin you will see the outer area, around the Queen's face, is a raised margin. I turned the steering wheel so that we could measure the tread of the entire wheel; a lot of people forget the inside of the wheel which is no less important just because you can't see it. You should always check several spots on the tyre, having one weak spot can lead to aquaplaning and other serious accidents.
  • Last year 1168 people were injured in accidents where faulty tyres were a contributory factor.
  • 36 deaths through accidents, where on evaluation, the tyres were considered to be unsafe and in need of replacement
  • The tyre is the only point of contact between you and the road

Many people don't know what tread achieves. Tread lifts the water off the road surface while you drive. Without tread none of your tyre would be in contact with the road, you would actually be in contact with a thin layer of moisture that sits between the road and your car. This is what is commonly known as aquaplaning.
Anyway, back to my story before I get an even higher sense of self importance and superior knowledge (If only I had knowledge on a subject that could earn me early retirement!)

I proceeded to place the 20p coin in the tread, showing my colleague that if you can't see any of the raised margin on the face of the 20p (pictured) then your tyre is still in good condition with regards to tread and wear. I would recommend separate testing for pressure and visual checks on damage that wouldn't be picked up by placing the Queen's face on your tyre!
Turns out he had no need for new tyres and subsequently I have formed a friendship with said colleague. The friendship has nothing to do with the fact he has new speakers and a gaming experience that is far superior to mine, I swear!
Jamie Doutt is a new blogger with a keen interest in anything to do with cars. He has a particular passion for road and tyre safety.