Motorists across the country are being warned about the dangers of driving with overinflated tyres, as the risk of accidents and blowouts increases significantly. Experts emphasise that excessive tyre pressure can lead to instability, affecting the vehicle’s handling, cornering ability, and braking performance.
How Overinflation Affects Handling
Even a slight deviation in tyre pressure, measured in psi (pounds per square inch), can have a profound impact on a vehicle’s handling, particularly on wet roads. Lower tyre pressures reduce load capacity and stability, while higher pressures provide greater capacity. Properly inflated tyres ensure even weight distribution across the tyre’s footprint, promoting stability and control.
However, underinflated tyres wear out unevenly, with the tread’s shoulder sections wearing faster than the centre due to inadequate support. When tyres encounter wet roads, factors such as tread depth, speed, and vehicle weight influence the risk of hydroplaning, where water reduces friction between tyres and the road, leading to loss of traction.
In the event of hydroplaning, experts advise against slamming on the brakes. Instead, gradually release the gas pedal until steering control is regained. Properly inflated tyres maintain adequate pressure in the tread’s centre, preventing collapse and ensuring traction, especially in wet conditions. Driving with underinflated rear tyres is particularly challenging, requiring the driver to slow down to regain control.
Importance of Maintenance
While tyre manufacturers design tyres for optimal performance, neglecting tyre pressure maintenance compromises safety. Motorists are urged to adhere to recommended tyre pressures specified in the vehicle’s handbook or tyre placard. Regularly checking tyre pressure, ideally once a month, is crucial to prevent handling issues and excessive wear, particularly before embarking on long highway journeys.
Wear and Tear
Incorrect tyre pressure not only affects handling but also leads to excessive tyre wear and damage to sidewalls, increasing the risk of tyre bursts. Maintaining equal tyre pressure on all sides is essential for stability and adaptability on the road. Overinflated tyres are more susceptible to damage, deformation, reduced grip, and accelerated wear, especially in the centre.
Driving with overinflated tyres poses serious safety risks and can lead to accidents, blowouts, and excessive tyre wear. Regular maintenance and adherence to recommended tyre pressures are vital to ensure safe and efficient vehicle operation on the roads. Stay informed, stay safe.