Anyone that knows me knows how much I love to drive. I drive a lot for work up and down the country and just love being behind the wheel and on the wide open road (or the congested M6, but we’ll pretend that doesn’t happen too much). We are also huge fans of road trips in the UK. I would gladly drive off to Scotland any chance I get and were lucky enough to see the highlands this time. It is so beautiful and really worth a trip if you can make it up there. My most favourite memories from Easter are seeing snowcapped hills in Glencoe, enjoying amazing fish and chips and discovering Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. If I had a campervan (and by that I meant luxury travel bus with comfy beds, wifi and a flat screen TV), I’d spend weeks driving around the country and discovering countless castles and lochs.
I’m not particularly “car savvy” when it comes to the mechanics of my Golf, but when if I’ve had to learn anything over the years, it’s been car and the safety and what to do when things go wrong. I’ve been in situations, particularly with my very first charming purple little “banger” where it’s broken down and left me waiting for recovery and I’ve been in a couple of burst tyre situations where, again, I’ve had to be rescued. As the days draw in and become darker and the weather a bit more volatile, it’s so crucial to know the basics of tyre safety. Tyres are critical to safe driving and one of the most important things to check before setting off on a long trip.
The top 3 tyre safety and awareness tips across a lot of places are as follows:
Check your tyre pressure regularly. And do it when your tyres are cold. Leave at least an hour after a long drive before checking. You can read more about tyre pressure here.
Check your tyre tread regularly. The legal minimum is 1.6mm and you can check using a 20p coin. The coin should fit snugly between the grooves. If you can see the coin still then you need to get them checked and possibly swapped. Poor tread means poor grip on the roads and a higher risk of accidents.
Check for cracks and bulges, particularly if you’ve “kerbed” a pavement or driven through a deep pothole. I’ve learnt this the hard way and have a couple of burst tyres to my name. You can easily buy tyres online from places like Point S
Know your car. Not all cars have a spare tyre anymore and some have tyre known as run flats. I had not a clue on my last burst tyre but I can now confidently tell the recovery company that my car has a spare should it happen again. It makes recovery that much slicker and smoother.
The most important tip is if you do suddenly find yourself on the side of the road due to a burst tyre then don’t panic, stand safely away from traffic and ring recovery as soon as possible. Describe your full status and situation, particularly if you have young children. We’ve been rescued in the past at lightning speed (as much as early morning rush hour traffic allowed) when I broke down with little Z aged 2 years old.
Happy road tripping!