12 March 2019

Get a grip: introducing the Tread Wear Indicator

Submitted by Tiffany
Get a grip: introducing the Tread Wear Indicator

A staggering one in five road accidents in South Africa are caused by tyre failures*.

To help driver’s be more tyre safe, small rubber moulded inserts, called ‘Tread Wear Indicators’ (TWIs), can now be found in the tread grooves on all passenger and SUV vehicle tyres on South African roads. TWIs are a useful tool to help drivers determine the amount of remaining tread on their tyres.

The TWI  enables motorists to visually compare their tyre tread depth to the legal minimum tread depth of 1 mm. Once the tyre tread and the TWI are level, it is time to buy new tyres if you have not done so already.

This life-saving announcement comes a few weeks ahead of the Easter holidays, when many South Africans are preparing for long car journeys, travelling out of town to visit family and friends. The number of car accidents recorded on South African roads tend to peak over the Easter break and the festive season, when many more motorists are driving long distances on holiday.

“Driving on worn tyres is a huge safety hazard – for you, your passengers and other road users,” says Carlo Baldocchi, Tyre Sector Manager at the South African Tyre Manufacturing Conference (SATMC). “Cars with low tyre tread experience increased braking distances, have less traction on wet surfaces and are more susceptible to punctures, which can lead to sudden blowouts,” he continues.

“Tyre safety has often been ignored while addressing other road safety messages; however, tyre safety is one of the most important factors which drivers need to be aware of at all times. Tyres are what keep a driver and their passengers off the tarmac. At any given time, there is very little tyre actually on the road – four hand-sized contact areas to be exact! We urge drivers to check their Tread Wear Indicators before the Easter holidays, and keep themselves, their loved ones and other road users as safe as possible,” says Baldocchi.

In an attempt to raise awareness of tyre safety and the existence of the TWI on your tyres, the SATMC has launched, #DontBeCaughtTreadBare. A campaign that parallels bare tyres, to nakedness and vulnerability.

“It is illegal to drive on tyres that could pose a danger to other road users and insurers will often reject accident claims that result from a faulty tyre. Add in the horrendous injuries you, your family and other road users could sustain as a result of a balding tyre and one quickly realises that  checking your tyres could prove to be a life-saver,” concludes Baldocchi.