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A safer ride

A few good things to be reminded of…
and maybe even a few tips that you didn’t know about!

Driving safely on wet roads

  1. Always drive with two hands to stay in control.
  2. Slow down: tyres will have better grip and contact with the road.
  3. Significantly increase your distance from other cars, especially when your vision is limited.
  4. Stay vigilant of other drivers and potential dangers. Anticipate dangerous situations rather than reacting to them.
  5. Before turning: only brake in a straight line before the turn, and do so gradually. Do not brake during the turn as this can make you slip.
  6. While turning: slow down before turning, and maintain a consistent speed throughout the turn.
  7. While turning: don’t make any sudden steering wheel movements.
  8. Inspect your tyres monthly: make sure your tyres have the proper amount of tread and tyre pressure.
  9. Choose tyres that offer maximum grip in wet weather.

Avoid sliding

What is it:

Your rear or front tyres won’t follow the direction of the steering.

How to regain control:

Gently ease up on the accelerator and slow down until the car regains traction. Once the car has regained grip on the road, maintain a steady and average speed for safe driving.

How to avoid it:

  • To ensure safe driving, regularly check the air pressure of your tyres.
  • Check the tread depth before setting off on long journeys as tyres need enough tread to safely move through water.

Driving tip:

  • To ensure safe driving, make an effort to reduce your speed and drive slower on wet roads.

Braking in rain

To ensure safe driving for both you and other road users, do the following:

  • On wet roads, braking distance is increased compared to dry roads.
  • Brake much earlier than you would on dry roads.
  • Double the distance between you and the car in front of you; you will need the extra time to stop safely.

What to do if you slide forward instead of turning

What is it:

Your front tyres lose traction before your rear tyres turn properly. This is called under-steering. Your car doesn’t follow the turn and slides straight off of the road.

How to regain control:

If your vehicle is still on the road, gently ease up on the accelerator and slow down until the car regains grip and traction.

How to avoid it:

To avoid sliding, ensure that you do the following to ensure safe driving:

  • Check the air pressure monthly.
  • Check the tread depth monthly.

Avoid spinning out from a turn

What is it:

Your rear tyres lose traction and grip before your front tyres and your vehicle starts to spin.

How to regain control:

To regain control to ensure safe driving, do the following:

  • If you have a front-wheel drive: accelerate, and if you need to, turn away from the turn.
  • If you have a rear-wheel drive: ease up on the accelerator and turn away from the skid.
  • If you have an all-wheel drive: turn in the same direction that you are skidding. Once you have regained traction, turn away.

How to avoid it:

Ensure that your tyres grip the surface of the road by following these tips:

  • Check the air pressure monthly.
  • Check the tread depth monthly.
  • Have your tyres rotated regularly so that they wear evenly.
  • If you only purchase two new tyres, make sure that they are placed at the rear of the vehicle.

Driving tip:

  • Do not turn too sharply.

Avoid hydroplaning

What is it:

The tyres slip and do not respond to steering, braking or accelerating. The vehicle can even skid or spin.

It occurs when the water between your tyres and the road cannot be removed quickly enough. This layer of water builds up in front of the tyre until the pressure of the tyre exceeds the pressure of the tyre on the road. This is when the tyre loses contact with the road.

How to regain control:

To regain control for safe driving, ensure that you follow these tips:

  • Don’t hit the brakes suddenly.
  • Ease off the accelerator gently until you slow down and regain traction.

How to avoid it:

Increase your tyre's hydro-planing resistance by following these tips:

  • Check your tyre pressure monthly. Tyre pressure below 30% of what is recommended greatly increases the risk of hydroplaning.
  • Check the tyre wear and tread depth monthly. The more tread depth you have, the more water your tyres can disperse.
  • Reduce your speed when approaching large puddles or standing water.

Pressure is key

Fact:

Under-inflated tyres are one of the biggest causes of fuel wastage.

Tyre maintenance tips:

Check your tyre pressure monthly. Under-inflated tyres increase fuel consumption. Over-inflated tyres have less grip.

How to drive to reduce fuel consumption:

1. Maintain Proper Air Pressure

Under inflated tyres are one of the biggest causes of using excess fuel in the world. An International Automobile Agency has stated that operating a vehicle with under inflated tires can result in a 25% reduction in fuel economy.

2. Select Low Rolling Resistance Tyres

The lower the rolling resistance, the less effort is required from your engine, and the better the gas mileage.

Some additional tips:

  • Drive at a constant speed, avoiding rapid stops and starts.
  • Turn off the engine when the car is at a standstill, for example in a traffic jam or at a railroad crossing, if it is safe to do so.
  • Drive light. Extra weight increases fuel consumption and polluting emissions.

Remove unused accessories like roof racks and luggage carriers, which create aerodynamic drag.

Choosing your tyres

Safe driving and sustainability are the two core focuses of MICHELIN's approach to tyre innovation. When choosing your tyres, follow these tips:

  • Choose tyres that have “fuel economy” as one of their main performance characteristics.
  • Tyres that have “traction” as their main characteristic will often have reduced fuel economy; winter tyres and tyres for heavier vehicles such as SUV and light trucks might not be the most fuel-efficient.

Safe driving on the highway

When driving on the highway, ensure that you follow these safe driving tips:

  • Always observe highway speed limits.
  • Activate your turning signal well in advance before changing lanes.
  • Avoid sudden or erratic steering or you may lose control of your car and roll over.
  • Take regular breaks. Don't drive while tired.

Safe driving at night

Driving at night can pose risks to safe driving. Follow these tips to ensure that you reach your destination safely:

  • Give your eyes some time to adjust to the light and shadows.
  • Tilt your rear view mirror slightly to reduce the dazzling effect of the car headlights behind you or change to night setting, if your rear view mirror has this option.
  • Don't look directly at the headlights from cars travelling in the opposite direction.
  • Don’t drive too fast: visibility is reduced at night, making it hard for you to see the road ahead.

Safe driving in fog

Visibility deteriorates in fog, follow these tips for safe driving:

  • Turn on your dipped headlight and fog lights.
  • Reduce your speed and refrain from overtaking.
  • Leave enough time to react in an emergency by keeping a safe braking distance from the vehicle in front of you.

Safe driving in wind

For safe driving in wind, follow these tips:

  • Reduce your speed. Be prepared to stop at any time.
  • Close all windows. An open window can attract airborne particles like dust that can affect visibility.
  • Keep an eye out for people or debris being blown onto the road.
  • Be aware that people may not hear your horn during strong windy conditions.
  • If you’re carrying cargo on your vehicle, make sure that it’s tied down securely.
  • Be very careful passing high-sided vehicles especially in exposed areas or on bridges.

Safe driving in mountain areas

Before driving through a mountain area, double check the tread on your tyres for optimal grip and safe driving.

  • Prior to setting off, check your brakes; test them and check the brake fluid.
  • Carry the tools necessary in case you break down (for a full list see Precautions and Emergencies).
  • Check the condition of your spare tyre: the appropriate pressure is especially important.
  • Carry extra food, appropriate clothing and emergency aids.
  • Check the weather and road conditions in the mountain area and choose your route wisely.
  • Tell at least one other person where and when you are travelling and when you are due back so they can alert the emergency services If you don't return on time.

While Driving:

While driving through a mountain area, be aware of the road hazards that can occur. Fog, mist and landslides are just three of the challenges that pose a threat to safe driving.

Safe driving in mud

Simple ways to decide whether or not you can cross through the mud:

When driving through mud, it is important to remember that a set of reliable tyres will make the task easier. However, to ensure that you make it through, follow these tips:

  • When there’s heavy mud on the road or if you’re driving off-road, stop your vehicle and inspect the hardness and depth of the mud before driving through it.
  • Observe the tyre tracks of other vehicles to gauge the depth and consistency of the mud.
  • Determine the type of the vehicles that have left the track from the sizes and widths of the track. Use that information as a reference to decide if you can get across.

Fatigue

When feeling tired, it is important to stop off and rest to ensure that you do not hinder safe driving on busy roads.

  • It affects eyesight, which can make it more difficult to identify hazardous conditions.
  • Lowers concentration levels and extends reaction time.
  • Reduces hearing ability.

How to Prevent Driving Fatigue:

Avoid driving fatigue by following these tips:

  • Avoid driving at night if you can.
  • Take a minimum 15-minute break after driving for two hours and stretch.
  • Don’t eat too much.
  • Don’t stare at the middle line of the road all the time.
  • Keep the vehicle well ventilated and at a comfortable temperature.

Impaired states

Sickness and medications can affect your driving

When driving long distance, a variety of sickness and medication can affect your driving ability, enabling your to drive safely.

  • Your focus on the road can be severely reduced by pain or strong emotional situations.
  • If you are taking medication and are unsure about its effects, consult your doctor or pharmacist before driving.

Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol

Do not consume any alcohol before you drive and be aware of the legal limits (they will differ from one country to the other).

  • Nominate a driver or hire a taxi when going out in a group.
  • You may still be over the legal limit the following morning.

General advice in emergency situations

Remain calm and do not panic; it will help you to make rational and calm decisions that will enable you to continue with your safe driving.

  • Steer before braking: try and brake in a straight line if possible.
  • If you are driving at high speed when the emergency occurs, try to avoid sudden steering since it may result in accidents that can otherwise be avoided. It may cause the vehicle to skid into a collision or even turn over.
  • You can steer far more effectively at slower speeds, and reduce the impact of the collision. So aim to slow down as much as possible.
  • You main priority is to save lives. If an accident is unavoidable, take priority actions that ensure the safety of human life first.
  • Turn on your hazard lights as soon as possible.
  • Make sure that you have emergency numbers and insurance numbers to hand at all times.

Regaining steering control

To regain steering control and tyre grip, follow this tips:

  • Release the accelerator pedal gently.
  • Steer the car in the direction where the back of the car is sliding.
  • Do not use the hand brake when the speed is very high.
  • Shift to a lower gear quickly and use the engine to slow down.
  • Turn on the hazard lights as quickly as you can.
  • Park in a safe spot and set up warning signs.
  • Apply the hand brake.

Brakes are not working

If you find that your safe driving has been compromised and the brakes do not work, follow these tips:

  • Hold the steering wheel more firmly.
  • If this happens before entering a turn, try and control the direction first.
  • Then try to slow down: shift down gears step by step to slow down.
  • Use the handbrake to stop the car if the speed is below 20 km.
  • Turn on your hazard lights as soon as possible.
  • Use slopes or obstacles to help stop the car.
  • If your brake stops working when going up a slope, shift quickly to lower gear, then use the handbrake to park the car.
  • If available, park in an emergency parking lane, lay-by or hard shoulder. If not, then anywhere away from fast traffic.

How to Avoid It:

Avoid brake failure by:

  • Testing your brakes before your trip.
  • Always test your brakes when you first start down a steep hill or if you have driven through deep water.

Tire blowout

If you happen to experience a tyre blow out, follow these tips:

 

  • A loud noise will surprise you but try to stay calm.
  • Always keep both hands on the steering wheel and grip firmly. This may save your life in case of a sudden rapid deflation.
  • Don’t slam on the brakes, keep your foot on the accelerator.
  • Keep the direction of the car as straight as possible.
  • Shift to a lower gear quickly, and use the engine to slow down.
  • Brake slowly to lower the speed.
  • Bring the car to a halt in a safe place.

**Note on the video: The footage is shot at a professional course with a professional driver and tyre-explosive testing equipment.

Essential Items to Keep in the Car

MICHELIN has compiled a list of essential items that you should have in your vehicle at all times:

  • Tyre gauge to measure the pressure of your tyres
  • Spare tyre and jack
  • Motor oil (make sure it’s the right one for your vehicle)
  • Jump leads
  • Torch
  • Roadside flares
  • Blankets and gloves
  • First aid kit
  • Bottles of water, snack bars and non-perishable food