Road accidents top the list of causes of untimely death in the UAE and, particularly during summer, the state of your tyres can have a major impact on your own safety on the road. According to Shaun Smith, national manager of Al Futtaim’s Fast Fit, which has collaborated with Dubai Police to raise awareness of tyre safety, tyre defects can increase during the summer months due to higher temperatures and pressure on tyres. Though there are no official figures to illustrate the percentage of accidents caused by defective tyres, it’s thought to be high enough to warrant a campaign.
‘Summer Without Accidents’ was set up to raise awareness and reduce accidents in the run-up to September, at which point the ‘Birth to Death’ tyre scheme will be implemented by the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology. Its role will be to provide quality control specifications to be adhered to, from the manufacturing process right the way through to the disposal of old tyres – see our boxout on the right for a list of guidelines.
But why is it so important that your tyres are in good condition? ‘Tyres are the only contact between the road and your vehicle, and therefore it’s essential that these are well maintained,’ Shaun explains. ‘Any defect can affect the performance of your car – should anything go wrong, it could be catastrophic. What’s more, the harsh environment of the Middle East can put tyres under far more stress than more forgiving climates such as those in Europe or the Far East.
‘In Dubai, the road temperature in the summer reaches 70°C on average. Higher temperatures increase the stress on a tyre, putting it under a lot more pressure to perform. Increased temperature also causes the rubber to wear out more quickly, which can lead to reduced tyre pressure – if not properly maintained this can cause premature wear and potential blow-outs.’
The problem is that many motorists are aware they may have defective tyres. Of course, you can check your tyre pressure and scan for tyre wall damage, but there certain things you won’t be able to spot. If you take your car for regular servicing, you should be alerted to any problems. But if it’s been several months since your last service, it’s a good idea to have your tyres checked by a professional.
According to Shaun, the frequency with which you should aim to change your tyres altogether is dependent on a variety of factors. ‘It depends on the vehicle, how you drive, the miles you do and the surfaces you drive on. However, the life of tyres shouldn’t exceed more than five years. 1.6mm is the legal tread depth for a tyre, although motoring organisations recommend changing your tyres when the tread depth reaches 2mm, and the tyre should be changed immediately if damaged beyond repair,’ he warns. And with free inspections available at locations across town, there’s very little reason not to get your tyres checked.
Free tyre inspection at Fast Fit, various locations including Al Quoz (800 3278 348).
Summer Without Accidents tyre guidelines
• Retailers cannot sell new tyres that are more than two years old.
• There will be a complete ban on the sale of used tyres, as well as restrictions in re-treading and the repair of tyres.
• Tyres must have the quality to sustain temperatures of more than 50°C, in accordance with UAE weather.
• The total lifespan of each tyre is restricted to five years from the date of manufacture. Any tyre that is five years old, used or unused, must be disposed of.
View More road safety in the UAE
More road safety in the UAE
Summer Without Accidents isn’t the only initiative looking to protect Dubai’s road users…
Buckle Up in the Back
This non-profit awareness group, founded by Dubai-based mum of two Lesley Cully, campaigns for seatbelts to be mandatory for anyone travelling in the back of a vehicle. The group is calling for full enforcement by law, as well as continued education in schools and nurseries about the need for seat belts and proper car booster seats for children.
See www.buckleupintheback.com or ‘Like’ the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/buckleupintheback.