Female drivers may hold the key to reducing road fatalities, according to experts behind the upcoming safety initiative, Tread Safely Week, running this September 5-11. In its second year, the national road safety initiative comes as Australia’s road toll for the first seven months of 2016 stands at 761 fatalities, up 13 per cent on last year. Astoundingly, female fatalities on the roads accounted for only a quarter of these road deaths and has been decreasing for the past three years. Research commissioned by Bob Jane T-Marts confirms women are more safety conscious, but shows many lack the confidence to undertake basic roadworthy car checks. The Bob Jane T-Marts research reveals despite men being more likely than women to not replace tyres and knowingly drive on unsafe tyres, a third of women admit their husband or boyfriend carries out their car checks. In fact, women are also three times more likely to leave tyre pressure checks to experts and when it comes to self-measuring that all important tyre tread, almost 60 per cent of women never do it – more than double the figure for men.
Off the back of these findings, leading safety expert and founder of the Australian Road Safety Foundation, Russell White, said this year’s Tread Safely Week has an added female focus. “The statistics are clear: if more females were armed with the know-how, we would have fewer dangerous vehicles on the road,” he said. “Empowering a nation of ‘femechanics’ – by converting women’s superior safety consciousness into knowledge and skills – will ultimately save lives.” Bob Jane T-Marts National Marketing Manager Zsuzsa Zalatnai, said the female focus not only responded to the research, but also to the company’s daily interactions with women drivers. “The feedback from Bob Jane T-Marts stores is that women are crying out for a basic skill-set when it comes to this issue,” she said. ‘So as part of Tread Safely Week, we’ll be tackling this attitude versus skills gap with a series of hands-on female-only workshops in a selection of our stores.”
With the help of Michelin experts, the selected Bob Jane T-Marts stores will pilot 45-minute femechanic workshops, which will include hands-on demonstrations of how to check tyre tread and pressure, how to put air in a tyre, and how to change a tyre. Michelin Australia’s Managing Director Cedric Binoit said the workshops were designed to give more women the confidence to carry out their own vehicle safety inspections. “Checking tyres is one of the easiest ways to help prevent accidents and may save lives,” he said. “Tyres help carry our most precious cargo – our families, and a few quick and simple checks can improve their safety on the road.” Men won’t be left in the passenger seat either, with the Tread Safely Week road show including an additional 11 local events where both genders will be reminded about the importance of road safety.
Tread Safely Week runs from 5 to 11 September and is a joint initiative of the Australian Road Safety Foundation, Bob Jane T-Marts and Michelin. Bob Jane T-Marts top tyre tips:
1. All tyres slowly deflate over a period of time, so check tyre pressure every 2-3 weeks and when the tyres are cold. Recommended tyre pressures are located on a placard on the inside edge of the driver’s door.
2. Regularly check balance and alignment to maximise the life of tyres. Regular wheel balances ensure your tyres run smoothly on the road to improve your vehicle’s control, and wheel alignments maximise the life of tyres by ensuring they wear evenly.
3. The minimum amount of tread required for a car to be roadworthy is 1.6mm, but it’s wise to replace tyres at 2mm as wet-weather grip is diminished when there is a small amount of tread. To check tread depth, put a match head into the tread grooves, and if any part of the head shows above the grooves it’s time to replace the tyre. Tread depth cards are also available free from your local Bob Jane T-Marts store.
4. Regularly check tyres for wear such as tears or bruises on sidewalls as well as embedded objects like nails or stones as they may lead to a puncture.
5. Always remember to check the spare tyre at the same time.
For more information on Tread Safely Week, or for local event information, visit treadsafely.com.au