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Puncture At Your Peril

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Puncture At Your Peril

Geoff Maxted
January 13, 2014

Toyota FT-1 Toyota FT-1
This will probably come as no surprise to most drivers who have been dismayed to find that their new car no longer has a spare wheel. Manufacturers have chosen, wrongly in my opinion, to abandon the full size spare and replace it with a space saver wheel (not so bad) or a can of foam (which is). Whether this is for design reasons, reasons of lightness or just a case of them cutting costly corners will depend on who it is you speak to. Now there’s another problem.

Drivers Lobby Group, the Alliance of British Drivers, have expressed concern that losing the hard shoulder on the proposed M1 Managed Motorway scheme could jeopardise motorists safety. The group are concerned that the modern trend for car manufacturers to substitute a can of foam for a proper full size spare wheel will put lives at risk where there is no longer a motorway hard shoulder. The ABD has received a number of calls from people expressing concern about the modern trend for manufacturers to sell new cars without a proper full-sized spare wheel, including a lady recently stranded at night.

ABD Spokesman Hugh Bladon commented "At motorway speeds, drivers need to be able to pull over as soon as possible in the event of a puncture to prevent the tyre shredding and possibly losing control of the car. The lack of a hard shoulder on the modern so called "Smart Motorways" means drivers have no alternative but to continue to the next "refuge". A can of foam will not inflate a shredded tyre, leaving the driver stranded.” He added, "If the Government is determined to do away with the hard shoulder on motorways then it must do more to ensure drivers safety by ensuring car manufacturers provide, at the very least, a space-saver spare tyre, and a full size spare wheel as an option."

It also occurs to me that the lack of a hard shoulder for any breakdown whereby the car cannot be driven to a ‘refuge’ will mean the driver and passengers being stranded dangerously on the inside lane. This is going to cause even more disruption than a vehicle on the hard shoulder. My advice: think it through again, chaps.

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