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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Legal or Lethal?

Our first Frost of the Season is a good time to mention the perils that lie in wait for young and inexperienced Drivers who joined the army of Motorists during the Summer Months.
Our current legal Tyre Tread Depth of 1.6mm will need a lot of scrutiny. The current level, while legal, will put you into the Lethal Zone in bad weather and road conditions.

1.6 mm represents a Tyre that is 80% worn leaving you with a meagre 20% to play around with. While on a perfectly dry road in the summer with no loose surface you might believe that all is well but come the first slippery surface and you will get something of a wake-up call. Your braking distance will be significantly increased and since we have yet to learn how to keep a safe distance from those vehicles ahead we will run the risk of rear ending them with the attendant costs. Don’t believe me?

We have been rear-ended three times in the last two years; on each occasion we had been stopped for at least 8 seconds. Once at a roundabout, once in a queue at Traffic lights and once at a major Tee Junction at the foot of a Steep Hill. One young Male; one early middle aged Female and one Middle aged Male. In other words a good cross section of Irish Drivers who don’t have a grasp of the basics!

There has been some talk recently of reviewing the Legal Tread limit and increasing it to 2.0mm which would be an excellent move. Remember when you are in the Driving Seat YOU and YOU alone are the person responsible for everything that goes on in and around and under your car. No one else. Not the Minister, not the Department, not the Driving Examiner, not the Legislation.

A final note of advice today. The ambient temperature has dropped significantly over the last day or two, which means a much greater time to bring the Engine to normal operating limits. Yesterday my car took eight miles and approximately 15 minutes to reach normal temperature. Today as an experiment, ten minutes at tick-over to clear the windows of Frost and the Coolant Temperature gauge hadn’t budged from Zero. Moral here is during the autumn and winter months, especially after heavy frost, switch the engine on ten minutes before you leave the house and don’t attempt to use the Kettle to clear your Windscreens. With the car at normal operating temperature and your visibility clear, you will be more alert and the car will respond as it normally does leaving you more time to assess the road conditions and adjust your speed.

Astral Driving School Limerick.

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