January 2020 and January 2021, Auto and General Insurance has noticed a spike
of 47 per cent in tyre and rim claims, raising the question of whether poor
road maintenance is to blame.
Steep claim increases were observed in
Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, and although claims have shown a steady
increase for both men and women, a significant amount of claims were submitted
by men aged between 31 and 37 who drive newer vehicles.
“This is a significant increase, and badly
maintained roads are a serious concern.
“One bad patch of the road could lead to
punctures, tyre bulges, bad wheel alignment and balancing, uneven tyre wear,
cracked rims, damaged undercarriage and damaged tyre walls and blowouts, which
could very well cost you your life,” said Ricardo Coetzee, head of Auto and
Saied Solomons, president of the South African
Road Federation (SARF), recently stated roads that are not timeously and
properly maintained are costing South Africa millions, with costs soaring even
higher when a lack of maintenance sees a road rapidly deteriorating to the
point of requiring total road rehabilitation.
Other knock-on effects that add to the real
cost of poorly maintained roads include frequent vehicle repairs, higher
transportation costs, bottlenecks on busy routes and more.
Auto and General provided the following guidelines for
navigating poorly maintained roads:
• Proactive maintenance: make sure your car is
checked and serviced regularly. A vehicle that is 100 per cent ready to light
up, steer around or meet challenging road surfaces are the best first line of
• On spec: make sure the wheels and tyres you
fit match the manufacturer’s specification and that tyres are properly inflated
to create an adequate cushion between the vehicle’s rims and the road surface.
• Profile carefully: low-profile tyres may
give a vehicle a sportier look, but reduce the space between the rim and the
road surface. Fit tyres that are in the “Goldilocks zone” between being sporty,
offering comfort and protecting against rough road surfaces. Ideally, opt for
tyres with rim protectors.
• Emergency kit: make sure your vehicle is equipped
with the basic wheel-changing tools and safety equipment.
• Alert and aware: always be fully aware of
your surroundings, including road signs and technology that alert you to
• Heavy loads, rough roads: be careful when
using a road or lane used by heavy motor vehicles, as these typically
• Cuts like a knife: be wary of steep road
shoulders and surfaces with sharp debris, especially where they can damage the
less robust sidewall of a tyre.
• Slow it down: reducing speed could give you
vital time to react to obstacles and other vehicles making sudden movements.
• Undercover threats: when it rains, water
could easily hide a pothole or debris. The same goes for roads that are badly
lit. Slow down and be extra cautious in these conditions.
• Brake and steer smart: if you can’t avoid
hitting a pothole or bad road surface, apply the brakes before the hazard, but
let up as you’re about to make contact. This helps to limit damage and also
reduces the risk of losing control of the vehicle. Keep a firm grip on the
steering wheel and avoid making excessive steering changes.
In the event of a potentially damaging incident or accident:
• Don’t assume that it’s just minor damage.
Stop when it is safe to do so to make sure.
• Switch on your hazard lights and, if
possible and legal, pull into the emergency lane.
• Make sure your vehicle remains visible –
make use of your emergency triangle.
• Call emergency services and your insurer for
At ES Brokers we offer tyre insurance as well as touch up insurance , also
known as scratch and dent. If you would like a quotation or would like to know
more, please contact our office on 031-5021922 or visit our website https://www.esbrokers.co.za/contact-us.
Written by Johann Badenhorst – article featured in Kathorus