Introduced in the 1960s in an advertising jingle for Firestone tyres, the phrase "where the rubber meets the road" soon passed into general use to mean any situation in which something is put to the test.
In a Gulf summer, the rubber hits scorching hot roads, and tyres - of any brand - do sometimes fail. In fact they fail too often, and at an increasing rate. Thee is also a problem with material fatigue in our climate. Drivers need to take some basic steps to protect themselves.
As The National reports today, accidents caused by burst tyres, and fatalities from such crashes, were 30 per cent higher in the first six months of this year than in the corresponding period of 2010; the number of injuries has almost tripled.
Tyre companies have an interest in getting us to buy new tyres often, but that does not mean they are wrong in encouraging drivers to check their tyres frequently, and to replace them when treads are badly worn or when tiny cracks and other signs suggest that it is time for a change.
It may be unrealistic to propose, as one expert does, that every car's tyres should be inspected by a professional each week. But any driver who doesn't check his tyres once a month, looking for tread wear and also making sure the tyres are inflated just enough, is simply asking for trouble. For driving safety, the place where the rubber meets the road is a place every driver should look, carefully and often.