German automotive manufacturing giant Continental recently concluded its latest safety study, in which over 40 percent of the cars driven by the youth in the UAE were found to be unsafe. Continental has always been striving to push forth better and safer tyres for the automotive world, and thus has been a pioneer when it comes to promoting safety standards in the industry. In their latest survey that was conducted primarily at two of Dubai’s top universities, the company discovered some glaring safety issues.

According to separate spot checks that were carried out by Continental, one in collaboration with YouGov and another with American University in Dubai and University of Dubai, specifically on cars driven by those between the ages of 18 and 24 years old. After the checks were performed, it was concluded that 55 percent of young car owners in the UAE haven’t conducted a thorough inspection of their cars’ tyres in the past 30 days. The survey was unequivocal in its conclusion as it revealed the ignorance of several car owners, especially when it comes to their lack of understanding of the role that tyres play in vehicle safety.

Khalil Salem, Director of Comms at AUD and Ricardo Martins from Continental ME.

“The number of young drivers in the UAE who are not taking the health of their tyres seriously should be a worry to all of us. While these concerns were initially highlighted by the results of the survey, the findings of the spot-checks we undertook in collaboration with University of Dubai and American University in Dubai really served to reinforce these concerns," Ricardo Martins, Head of Marketing, Continental Middle East

Continental’s initiative revealed that a worrying 11 percent (one in ten) of young drivers in the country didn’t believe that it was important enough to have well maintained tyres fitted to their cars. Experts agree that tyres should be checked regularly for insufficient tread depth, irregular wear and unbalanced air pressure – all or even one of which can cause catastrophic tyre failure. These safety threats are even more noteworthy in countries such as the UAE, where temperatures can soar to over 50 degrees Celsius in the summer and cars regularly travel at triple-digit speeds. According to the Ministry of Interior and National Transport Authority, over 400 lives were lost in 2018 – with 45 percent of those accidents caused by young drivers – many of which have been the result of unsafe tyres.

The survey that was conducted at the two universities in Dubai, checked over 330 cars, and found that 44 percent of them had at least one tyre that failed to comply with recognised safety guidelines. Many of the spot checks revealed several safety issues in the tyres, including incorrectly inflated tyres, damaged or cracked tyres, expired tyres and worn treads. In all, 30 percent of the cars among the 330 had their tyres incorrectly inflated, which can lead to irregular tread wear and side-wall damage. Even more concerning was the fact that six percent of the total cars that were checked, were in immediate need of having all four of their tyres replaced.

Continental Tires Road Safety Campaign across UAE Universities.

The team performing the safety tests included members from Continental and its local partner, Emirates for Universal Tyres (EUT). The initiative allowed students to communicate with the experts, who also handed over the Continental Safety Tips booklet to those in attendance. Ricardo Martins, Head of Marketing, Continental Middle East, said, “The number of young drivers in the UAE who are not taking the health of their tyres seriously should be a worry to all of us. While these concerns were initially highlighted by the results of the survey, the findings of the spot-checks we undertook in collaboration with University of Dubai and American University in Dubai really served to reinforce these concerns.”

Meanwhile, speaking on the initiative, Haitham Al Maaini, Acting Director, Student Services Department at University of Dubai, said, “At University of Dubai, we are determined to spread safety awareness among our students and personnel, particularly road safety. Our initiatives come in line with the efforts made by UAE authorities to reduce fatalities and protect people’s lives from car accidents mostly caused by high speed driving or using road-unworthy vehicles. Therefore, the comprehensive tyre check campaign delivered by Continental at University of Dubai was essential and very beneficial to our students.”

The safety campaign that was led by Continental in the UAE was part of the brand’s “Vision Zero” global safety initiative. Under this initiative, Continental is aiming to completely eradicate road accidents via a three-prong approach – Zero fatalities, Zero injuries, and Zero crashes.