Dubai: Tyre safety experts are warning motorists to get their tyres checked regularly following a horrific crash in Ras Al Khaimah over the weekend that left four youths dead.
Emiratis Ebrahim Ali Abdullah, 18, Abdullah Hassan Abdullah, 10 and Mania’Nasser Al Yaqoubi, 10, and Pakistani Ebrahim Ali Abbas, 18, were all killed when the SUV they were travelling in rolled over on Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road near Exit 122 at 6.55pm on Friday afternoon.
Seven people were on-board when the incident, which police blamed on speeding and under-inflated tyres, occurred.
Police said the vehicle was travelling at 140km/h, with the front tyre pressures under 20 psi while the rear tyre pressures were at 10 psi.
The recommended tyre pressure is usually between 30-35 psi but this changes depending on the type of vehicle, which places the onus drivers to check their car’s manual for the recommended pressure.
Those involved in the accident were relatives and had just come back from a lunch party in the desert.
“When driving with less pressure at high speed, the car becomes like a ship sailing on water,” said Vinod Kumar Vaid, managing director of Volga Machinery Spare Parts.
“There’s no grip and the slightest turn will push the vehicle off the road, especially if the vehicle is overloaded. This lack of control is made worse when there is an imbalance in the tyre pressure — especially in a rear wheel drive — lower pressure at the back of a rear-wheel drive will definitely send the car off the road.”
Thomas Edelmann of Road Safety UAE said to avoid such accidents drivers should regularly check their tyres and make the necessary corrections when returning from an off-road trip.
“A pre-drive vehicle check must be done before every journey, and that involves walking around the vehicle and looking at the tyres to see if there [are] any cracks or damage. It’s basically about having the right mind set and not taking things for granted, it’s not about parking the car overnight and hopping back in the next morning and driving off, you really have to check,” he said.
“It’s no big secret that the climatic conditions in the UAE can be quite taxing to our tyres, so we have to be particularly alert to check and refill them with air. I personally do it once a month and every time there is air missing, so this is something motorists have to be cognisant of.”
Gordon Ferguson, the general manager of the AAA service centre in Dubai, agreed.
“It’s a case of self-policing and looking after yourself. The first thing you should do is buy a good brand of tyres appropriate [for] your vehicle, and the right type for your speed, load and temperature rating.
“Then you must keep your pressures correct and this changes depending on the type of vehicle. There is also a five-year legal limit on the age of tyres here, but because of climatic conditions, you can’t just rely on the five-year limit as you may need to get them changed well before then, according to any damage that may occur in-between.
“People shouldn’t get lazy,” he added. “It’s easy to leave things until your next service and let the mechanic do it, but things can happen between services and it’s up to you to spot and maintain your vehicle yourself.”
Poor tyre repair jobs are also an area of concern in the UAE, according to Vaid.
“Some tyre shops push the brown string for repairs from the outside of the tyre in when repairing and this is wrong, because they don’t know the angle of penetration of whatever’s damaged the tyre, they could end up just expanding the hole leading to an eventual blowout. They should instead take the tyre off the rim and inspect and fix it from the inside.”
Edelmann agreed: “You must go to certified garages and reputable brands for tyre repair and not take any risks. Damage on the side wall of the tyre can’t be repaired and must be replaced.”
Five ways to keep your tyres safe
- Buy good brand of tyre that appropriate for your vehicle
- Maintain the correct tyre pressure by stopping at the garage and refilling with air at least once a month
- Don’t forget to correct your tyre pressure when you come back from an off-road trip
- Walk around your vehicle every morning to check your tyre for cracks or damage