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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

the embarassment of a flat tyre - ever stranded on a road !!

From the day mechanized vehicles started plying on roads, the problem of breakdowns also began. Many of us have personally experienced troubles by vehicles not starting, or stopping suddenly and refusing to move or some other mechanical problem – making you curse your stars. The problem would be more acute when it is dead of night or the problem occurring in an area poorly lit and no assistance in vicinity.

Most of these attributable to hole in tyre - punctured or flat tyre as they are called. The tyre suddenly blowing out can be a potential cause of accident for the rider.

A flat tyre is nothing but pneumatic tyre getting deflated, causing the rim of the wheel to ride on the tyre tread or the ground and result in loss of control of the vehicle besides causing damage to tyre, wheel and the vehicle. This frequently happens due to puncturing by a sharp object such as nail. These objects pierce and deflate the tube containing the air. Some other possible causes are failure of or damage to the valve, act of vandalism, collision, excessive wear etc.,

There are some notorious areas where miscreants intentionally put sharp objects on road, cause wheel puncture and try to gain something out of your misfortune.

There could be localized versions of caltrop which were the antipersonnel weapon used by Germans. These could be made of two or more sharp nails or spines arranged in such a manner that one of them always point upwards from a stable base – sort of landmines of antiquity. They were extremely useful in halting the advances of horses, camels, war elephants and human troops. They can cause great damage to vehicles as well. The name is derived from Latin calcitrapa (foot-trap). The synonymous Latin word tribulus gave rise to the modern Latin name of a plant offering similar hazards to sandaled or bare feet, Tribulus terrestris (Zygophyllaceae), whose spiked seed case can also injure feet and puncture tires. The Japanese had their own version.

There are areas in Chennai which are particularly notorious for bad roads with nails and other objects strewn around. North Chennai has quite a few of these and recently Chennai Corporation has brought a vehicle fitted with strong magnets which would clean the road of all its iron objects to ensure a safer ride for other vehicles. Magnetic sweepers are uncommon in India. They could be used to celar Clear work sites and important traffic areas of dangerous scrap iron or scattered ferrous metal objects. Here is a vehicle in operation.

Here is a popular joke :
A motorist from the big city filled up at a small petrol station and found he had a flat tyre. He went to the garage store and asked an attendant: "Have you an air line here?"

The attendant replied: "No, but there is usually a bus every hour."

With regards – S Sampathkumar.


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