While no one can be a completely perfect driver, the best ones are those who drive thoughtfully every time and will recognise there’s always room for improvement. That said, your tyre wear will tell you a lot about the sort of driver you are.
Reducing your tyre wear will ensure they last longer and save you money over the long term. By avoiding the below bad practices, you can improve your skills as a driver, while maximising your safety and lengthening the life of your car's tyres.
Driving fast over uneven surfaces
When going over gravel, unpaved surfaces and even dirt or grass fields (where rocks and stones can be present), driving at normal pace is ill-advised. Instead proceed cautiously and, as you drive along, try to feel the terrain underneath your car. You should be able to detect the vibrations of the terrain in your brakes, steering wheel and even your seat. If the road feels particularly bumpy, slow down further.
Failing to be gentle on brakes while towing
When you’re towing a trailer or caravan, you need take into account the extra stress the larger weight places on your car. While many motorists remain mindful of the fact their vehicle is now taking up a larger space on the road, it’s also essential that you try to be extra gentle in your driving and anticipate more than normal when you need to brake.
This is particularly important if you’re on a holiday and driving over uneven surfaces. The extra weight due to the trailer – combined with the greater distance your vehicle needs to stop when braking – means considerable strain can be placed upon your four tyres if you brake erratically.
Failing to maintain other components of your car
In order to minimise the wear on your tyres and maximise your car’s overall performance, you need to ensure that everything between your car’s steering wheels and tyres is well maintained to give you the highest level of efficiency and output. Failing to do so will ensure increased stress and wear on your tyres.
Think of your car like a distance runner athlete who wears good protective shoes to take care of their feet, but then ignores any wear and tear they get on their legs and torso from running great distances. The same challenge exists with your car.
Ensure your coolant is topped up, your battery is charged, and your steering system is responsive and fluid. Doing so will leave your car well maintained, and its overall performance will minimise the impact on your tyres each time you brake.
Excessively hard braking
Formula One driver Jenson Button is famous for being gentle on his brakes - and this is a driver who regularly races at speeds above 300km/h. He’s careful because he knows that harsh braking is damaging to the broader components of your car. Everything from your brake pads to your fuel supply can be impacted upon with regular harsh breaks. Therefore, while safety is always most important, especially in emergency situations, braking as gently as possible will extend the life of your car's tyres.
Having an incorrectly positioned car seat
Many motorists may not realise that the comfort in your car’s seating position impacts your ability to drive efficiently and safely. If you’re uncomfortable while driving, you’ll be more likely to drive and brake in a manner that’s sharp and sudden, as opposed to smooth and steady.
To avoid distraction due to driver discomfort, put your wrists on the top of your steering wheel as you extend/shorten your seat’s distance from the wheel. Once your arms are extended straight from your body, you can lock in your seat’s ideal position for your size.
Turning the steering wheel when your car isn’t moving
While this isn’t a dangerous mistake to make while driving, it does wear down your tyres over time. Many motorists regularly turn their steering wheel before moving and, in doing so, put tremendous pressure on the tyres in the absence of forward movement.
Of course, sometimes this situation is unavoidable, such as moving into and out of a narrow parking space, but you should always try in normal driving to move your steering wheel only when the car is in motion.
Not allowing your car to warm up
If you anticipate driving through congested ‘stop start’ traffic, it’s a good idea to take your car for a quick drive around the block before joining into the busier road. As you go along, do some mild braking and, while at a complete stop, gently pump the brakes a little to give them a bit of a workout
While doing this regularly at high speeds is something to be avoided, doing it when the car is at a complete stop will ensure your brakes are in good condition and that they remain responsive.