Did you know that the lack of proper spare wheels and the lack of driver’s knowledge, combined with the increasingly dangerous potholes in the roads of the UK are responsible for around 200,000 AA call-outs per year?
Vehicle breakdown providers say that the reason behind this is the fact that newer car models have ditched spare wheels for run-flat tyres or a bottle of tyre sealant.
There have been numerous cases where a motorist had a flat tyre but did not have a spare. A third of the newly-sold cars do not carry a spare tyre since car manufacturers attempt to save space and weight. Edmund King, President of the Automobile Association (AA) said that he would appreciate spare tyres as at least an option on new cars to prevent motorists from being stranded on the roadsides.
Puncture repairs have become increasingly common as motorists are struggling with failing roads. Currently, the UK is facing a 14-year backlog on repairs, with recent reports suggesting a decline of 19 per cent in repairs by local authorities across England and Wales.
A survey conducted with more than 25,000 drivers revealed that 39 per cent had suffered tyre damages from hitting potholes. According to the AA, the number of tyre-related call-outs have been on the rise and is currently the topmost reason for a vehicle call-out, surpassing battery faults. To tackle this problem, the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) and the AA have both developed multi-fit spare wheels that patrols can fit into 90 per cent cars in the event of an emergency.
However, Edmund King added that potholes often have an impact on two tyres- the front and rear on the same side- so if a car does have a spare tyre, the patrol’s multi-fit wheel would be invaluable. He also pointed out that even people who own cars with a spare wheel are unable to change the tyre by themselves, or do not know the basic know-how. He gave an example of big SUVs that include tyres that can be too heavy for some people to carry, which is why they call for help.
One of the potential solutions is to offer more education to drivers on basic car maintenance such as changing a wheel. Neil Greig, the policy and research director at IAM RoadSmart, is of the opinion that this skill should feature as a part of additional driving tuition for motorists, although he ruled it out of being a part of the driving test.
He remarked that several drivers confessed that they are unaware of how their car works or how to take proper care of it. Changing a tyre is a life skill that saves considerable time than sitting on the roadside waiting for help to arrive. Greig believed that garages and forecourts should offer more help to motorists to look after their tyres, due to the condition of UK’s roads deteriorating by the day. More free air points should be offered to drivers to keep their tyres correctly inflated.
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