Recently, the government announced the possibility of making nitrogen-filled tyres and silicon infused rubber tyres mandatory on cars in the future. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways The Minister, during the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha recently, said: “We are considering making it mandatory for tyre manufacturers to mix silicon with rubber in tyres and fill them with nitrogen instead of normal air.” However, we wonder, is this the right direction towards road safety?
Sure, nitrogen in tyres will control pressure fluctuations, but how useful is that on the road? Nitrogen filled tyres are often used in performance cars, that go on the track. The extreme pressure on the tyres causes a lot of fluctuations in pressure. The use of nitrogen here helps control these fluctuations. We would not, or rather should not experience such fluctuations on the road. The other aspect, which mentions the use of silicon in tyres too, seems to be not too beneficial. Sure, it may have a positive impact on the life of the Tyre but do not expect massive gains in grip levels. Moreover, silicon is quite an expensive element. Tyre manufacturers would be forced to push the additional costs to the buyer, further increasing the cost of tyres, without any great added benefits.
That said, we also appreciate how the government has upped their game in terms of safety. Recently, in the world of two-wheelers, we got a new rule which mandates the installation of ABS on two-wheelers above 125 cc, and synchronised braking mechanism on vehicles below 125 cc. In the world of 4-wheelers, a new mandate has made it compulsory for manufacturers to provide safety aids like ABS, EBD, airbags and more as standard across all trim levels. The safety norms are indeed becoming more and more strict, which has forced many manufacturers to stop the sale of certain bikes and cars. While we appreciate the way the government is charging towards safer roads, but then instances like this or even the ISI helmet controversy make us think, whether this is the direction we should be going to make our roads safer?