If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the British, it’s that they know how to make a great road! From the times of the Roman occupation, when the first roads were constructed in the British Isles, Britain has led the way in connecting its towns and cities.
There’s no doubt that the UK boasts perhaps the finest motorways in the world. But go into some of its smaller towns and villages, and moving around is a little harder. And the further north you find yourself, you’ll probably find that local roads are trickier and trickier to navigate. The harsher weather up north probably has a lot to do with this. And it’s something I can definitely attest to. I’ve made several driving trips to Scotland and after initially spending most of my time in Edinburgh and Glasgow, I’ve more recently headed into more rural areas on Scotland’s local roads, like Fife and The Trossachs. And I can tell you that while the scenery, food, and people are all wonderful, the roads can sometimes leave something to be desired. If you do encounter an issue on the road remember that booking tyres when in local areas like Kirkcaldy becomes easy from Point S.
Earlier this year my car suffered a bad puncture while heading up from Edinburgh towards St Andrews. It really changed my perspective on ensuring that my tyres are prepared for a tough journey. Particularly on local roads and in the colder weather!
So, with the benefit of experience, here are my top tips on making sure you’re driving with the right tyres when you head onto Scotland’s local roads.
1) Check Your Tyres
The first step is extremely simple and obvious but can make a big difference – check your tyres. A visual inspection of your tyres is much more important than one may imagine. Uneven tread can be seen with the naked eye and it’s the first step to recognising that your tyres are worn out and need replacing.
2) Use the Proper Tyres for the Season
If you’re driving in adverse weather then don’t wait until the last minute to change your tyres. Getting your winter tyres on at the beginning of the season will see that you don’t have to scram around at the last minute. Better than that it’ll make sure that you are prepared and don’t get caught in a storm, or worse yet, get into an accident.
What’s the difference between winter and summer tyres?
Winter tyres have a tread design that has larger gaps, therefore, it ensures that you have more grip on ice and snow.
3) Check the Pressure
The proper pressure is extremely important for your tyres. Even if you’re the most careful and cautious driver your tyres will lose pressure over time. Ensure that your tyres are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s standards to ensure that your car will run precisely as it should.
4) Learn to Penetrate the Traffic
A huge difference between driving on a motorway and driving on city roads is that you’ll encounter a completely different pace of traffic. An important skill for being able to drive well locally is to know how to gauge the distance between you and the cars around you down to the millimetre.
The better you are at gauging distances the better you can move about in tight spots and on tight roads.
5) Learn to Brake Appropriately
The brake is the brake, right? Yes, it is. But the thing is that the more you learn how to control your braking the better you will become at ensuring that your tyres work to your advantage. Smoother braking helps your tyres do their job and prevents any unnecessary wear and tear.
6) Don’t Overload Your Tyres
Under-inflation is bad for your tyres but over inflation can be just as damaging. Did you know it’s the second leading cause of tyre failure? I didn’t! Your tyres can carry up to a certain load and making sure that you stay within that weight can make sure your tyres last what they’re supposed to, or even longer.
7) Always Have The Right Spare
Out of personal experience, I can’t stress the importance of having a good spare tyre enough. I had the standard size spare in my car for a long time but when I had the bad puncture I spoke about earlier it’s when I realised that having a full-size spare tyre is the best hack for those of us who love the road.
What are your top tips for driving on Scotland’s local roads?