Continental Vision Zero
GEM’s Road Safety Officer, Neil Worth, checks out Continental’s ‘Vision Zero’ initiative…
Picture the scene: a slightly overcast late September morning and I arrive at a disused airfield steeped in history dating back to the Second World War. This airfield was synonymous with British post-war aircraft development with numerous jets, including the Hunter, Harrier Jump Jet and the Red Arrow’s own Hawks taking to the skies there for the first time.
It wasn’t for the aeroplanes or the history that I was on that windswept airfield but it was instead for something else that it now houses – the Top Gear track. I had been invited, with various colleagues, to attend an event being run by Continental where they were going to demonstrate their passion for road safety.
Continental – more than just tyres
As everybody probably knows Continental are famous for making premium tyres but, as we were to find out, they do much more than that! The day started with a presentation explaining Continental’s “Vision Zero” and their headline “Accidents belong in a museum…” It is Continental’s belief that all fatalities and casualties on the roads should be a thing of the past and they are working to develop technology, not just in their tyres, to achieve just that.
From the start the passion for road safety was evident with an explanation of how tyres work to keep you on the road and why it is important to have good quality tyres, properly inflated with adequate tread depth. From the presentation we were split up into groups and throughout the course of the morning we were given various demonstrations of how the technology Continental produce is being used in vehicles to help reduce the risk of collisions.
We were put through our paces on the world famous Top Gear track while trying to undertake various tasks including programming a sat-nav while driving a car and I was asked to use my mobile phone to search for Continental tyres whilst trying to steer around a course of cones – I tried and spectacularly failed! As a road safety professional this is something that I would never do but as there are still people that insist on using their mobiles when they drive, it served to illustrate the dangers to all involved.
It was apt that at the start of Tyre Safety Month we carried out a range of manoeuvres in cars with new premium tyres and those with 3mm tread or 1.6mm tread (the legal UK limit). The braking distance between the car with the new tyres and those with the ones at the limit on a wet road was staggering. There’s a difference of approximately four car lengths between where the new tyres stop compared to those at the limit!
The final exercise of the day was two identical cars, one with an underinflated tyre to see if we could identify the difference in the way they drove, again to highlight how important it is to keep your tyres in check.
All in all it was an enjoyable day with a very serious message: when you’re driving a car you only have four patches of rubber, each roughly the size of your hand, in contact with the road. If that rubber isn’t up to scratch with adequate tread or if the tyre is under or over inflated it can have serious repercussions for your safety and that of everyone around you.
Being brutally honest, if your tyres aren’t looked after they won’t look after you!