Lessons in driving
Unfortunately, with current lessons in driving, the entire driver training, and licensing process are focused on just passing the driving test. So it’s not until you are on your own, on the road, where things go wrong, that you realise just how under-prepared you were in the learner driver phase of getting your license.
This week there was a young lady in New South Wales, in her early 20s who died, simply due to a flat tyre. See the problem is there is so much focus on just passing the driving test, that everyone believes that if you have done your 100+ supervised hours and passed your driving test, that you can drive, yet this is only the very basics, the very beginning.
‘Uh-Oh. . . Got a flat!’
Why tyres have air…….. Tyres have no shape and depend on the air pressure to maintain their shape. This is why tyre pressure is critical. Too much pressure and the tread area bulges out, to little pressure and the tread area collapses, both mean the grip is reduced, which is bad for being in control.
This is also where a bit of preventative maintenance is essential, on the side of the road is the last place you want to know your spare has no air.
How to know when you have a flat tyre.The steering on the car will start to feel wooden and heavy. In addition, the car will want to pull in that direction, so if the left front is going flat, the car will start to steer left.
What to do when you first know you have a flat tyre. No, updating your status is not the correct answer, remember you are driving…Look, assess your mirrors, you need to warn other motorists things are not all rosy in your world. Ease of the accelerator, and only apply firm pressure to the steering wheel. start looking for a safe place to get off the road.
Find a safe place and get off the road. It doesn’t matter where you are, it doesn’t matter how far you drive, it is so important to get your car off the road, not just the shoulder, but literally of the road. Note all the road works, how they have trucks with huge collapsible barriers, witches hats, people with signs, in other words, a lot of measures to ensure you don’t run into them, they have that for very good reason. People can’t judge speed. We don’t realise the difference between a car stopped on the edge and one driving, especially at night. Chances are, the tyre is already destroyed, in any case, it is only worth $100 – $200.00, your life is far more valuable. I once drove 5km on a flat, expensive tyre, as there was no way I was going to stop on the highway at night, with trucks flying past at 100km/h.
Make the scene safe, hazard lights, on, bonnet up, boot or tailgate up. Now you need to get ready, spare out of the boot, tools at the ready, get everything and everyone out of the car.
Every part of the process is just as important. This one is no exception. You need to find your jacking points, it can be as a sticker on your jack, it will definitely be in your owners manual, if you are missing either of these, then it is on the sill, a piece of folded metal that forms an edge that fits into the slot on the jack. The Jack points are often highlighted by slots or ridges in the fold. Another way to check is on the front and rear door open lines, it is called the A and C pillars. near the front wheel, aligns with the dash, or just in front of the rear wheels. Don’t get this part wrong, it will cost. Now with the jack in position, take the weight of the car on the jack, but don’t lift it up.
Loosen or “crack” your wheel nuts. With the weight of the car on the ground, it is imperative you “Crack” or just loosen the wheel nuts. then you can jack up your car
Support the car, stop it from rolling by applying the hand brake, chocks behind and in front of the opposing wheels and make sure the jack has a suitable, stable base to lift from. Remember Newtons law, what goes up, must come down.
Undo the wheel nuts now, placing the nuts in a safe location so you can’t kick them as you move around.
Tricks of the trade
- Use your wheel brace to lift the wheel of the studs and ease it onto the ground
- Line up the new wheel with the wheel studs and roll onto your wheel brace
- Lift the end of the brace and this will lift the wheel onto the studs, slid onto the hub and secure with the wheel nuts.
- Tighten the nuts to firm with your brace.
- Go in opposing directions when tightening your wheel nuts.
- Repeat the process, lowering your car to the ground
- Tighten the wheel nuts by standing beside the car, maintaining balance as you step onto the wheel brace, using your body weight to push down on the brace, tightening the nuts up, opposing nuts to ensure the wheel tightens squarely.
- Put all the tools away, pump the brake pedal to ensure it is still firm
This article was written by Gene Corbett the Founder of Total Driver, to see more about what he has done read about his past here.