Punctures are no longer a let-down with DriveGuard
On a dark and dreary night the last thing any driver wants to do is pull over at the side of a narrow road or fast-moving motorway to change a tyre. Until now, the alternative for most people has been to wait for breakdown assistance - which has its own disadvantages, such as time delays and the dangers associated with waiting in precarious locations.
Bridgestone launched its new DriveGuard tyres in Monaco this week and it claims the run-flat design will ensure safer driving and allow motorists to continue on their journey, even with tyre damage.
While run-flat tyres may have been on the market for a number of years, they have always been car-specific and designed in conjunction with manufacturers with no common specification across the range.
What's unique about the Bridgestone DriveGuard tyre is that it can be fitted to any vehicle which has a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). With 60pc of drivers having experienced a puncture in the past four years, Bridgestone DriveGuard tyres will allow you to drive up to 80 kilometres at 80kmh, so you can reach your destination - or at least get to a safe place to change a tyre or wait for assistance.
So how do they work? The tyres consist of a supporting rubber compound and optimised gauge and are designed to support the car's weight under sudden air loss. The belt material has also been strengthened and stiffened, and cooling fins reduce heat build-up from friction at low pressure to improve durability and ensure the tyre won't degrade for at least 80 kilometres.
The mountain roads just outside of Nice were the test site for this launch and we drove two identical Peugeot 308s - one fitted with Bridgestone's best-selling Turanza T001 tyres and the other fitted with DriveGuard tyres to experience the difference, if any, between the two. On the road, the Turanza was slightly softer with a little more comfort, however, the DriveGuard tyre produced less road noise and although it was a little firmer on the road it did feel like a sportier tyre.
The second on-road test began with a nail being driven into the sidewall of the Bridgestone DriveGuard tyre, which was fitted to a Renault Megane SW. Once the front tyre had been completely deflated the car was taken out onto the mountain roads. Despite there being noticeable noise from the tyre when in motion and slightly heavier steering, the car was still able to tackle bends and bumps and, most significantly, was safe to drive. If the tyre pressure warning is ignored or not functioning correctly, the tyre has been designed to slowly degrade, with increased vibration and noise to warn a driver something is wrong, rather than suffering from a sudden complete failure.