Brian Joss – Thousands of motorists and drivers are enjoying the benefits of a sports utility vehicle these days. The SUV segment is growing exponentially on a global scale and the same can be said for the South African market.
Goodyear South Africa shares some basic SUV driving tips, as well as some advice on the correct tyre choices for your vehicle.
Driving an SUV is simply not the same as driving a hatch or a sedan. You might be remarkable at handling a smaller vehicle, but if you’re a new SUV driver, you need to follow some essential driving tips to ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers and other road users:
You need to learn how to drive your SUV. Handling a utility vehicle is a bit different, so take time to get to know your vehicle. Take your vehicle to an open area or an empty parking lot and start practising with brakes, steering and the overall maneuvering of your SUV.
Be attentive about smaller vehicles around you and be aware of your surroundings while you’re driving. Not everyone on the road is enjoying your ride height and ability to see the road ahead from behind your windshield.
Adjust your outward mirror properly to know about any of the vehicles coming behind you.
Do not hesitate to use brakes when needed. Always maintain a safe following distance as your SUV could require a greater braking distance due to its size and weight. Remember to increase your following distance if the vehicle is fully laden and carries additional weight.
Owning a large SUV doesn’t give you a passport to overload your vehicle.
Overloading your vehicle with more goods and people than it’s recommended loading capacity will only make the handling and balancing difficult. Place your parcels and luggage at the back preferably in the boot area Don’t forget to use your seatbelt especially when you’re at the driver’s seat of an SUV. Everyone in the vehicle should be buckled up and all items securely packed. This is vital for staying safe.
Slow is always safe, especially when you must apply the brakes suddenly in an emergency. Wet roads also call for slowing down, putting on your head lights and paying special attention to your speed and following distance.
When the tyre pressure is too low, overheating can occur, which may lead to a tyre blowing out. This can cause you to lose control of your SUV and increase the chances of an accident.
Goodyear South Africa recommends the following tyres for SUV vehicles:
Aimed specifically at the SUV and 4×4 vehicle market, the EfficientGrip SUV combines the road grip qualities with an active ability to deliver lower fuel consumption, lower CO2 emissions and a quieter ride. The tyre is available for a wide range of SUV/4×4 vehicles, from luxury/full size vehicles through standard, compact and sub-compact ranges.
As SUV and 4×4 vehicles become more economical, car manufacturers work hard to meet and exceed environmental standards. Utilising the company’s innovative FuelSaving Technology, Goodyear’s EfficientGrip SUV delivers a tyre that is constructed using a special polymer, designed to improve rolling resistance, save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions.
New advanced features include 3D blades in the tread, designed to improve the tyre’s overall contact with the road, thereby reducing the vehicle’s braking distance.
A key feature of the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 SUV is its Active Braking Technology. When braking, the tyre’s contact surface with the road, and thus its grip, increases, which supports shorter braking distances in both dry and wet road conditions.
The Grip Booster Technology, consisting of an adhesive compound that works to increase stickiness with the road’s surface, is a second feature that reinforces the tyre’s grip, also resulting in improved braking and handling.
The new cords in the construction’s different layers help to improve handling of the vehicle at higher speeds, optimise cornering stiffness, and to decrease tread wear. To reduce the tread wear further, the tyre’s cavity and pattern have also been optimised.
These features are combined with the UHP Cool Cushion Layer, a technology that improves handling while reducing rolling resistance, resulting in better fuel efficiency, said Goodyear.
CAPTION: The Eagle F1: park your SUV with the wheel at an angle so you can see the tread. Picture: Quickpic