A myriad of factors play an essential role in safety when driving a vehicle or being a passenger. We have discussed weather, pot holes, negligence and distraction to name a few. However, one that may be overlooked is the condition of your tires are to endure the road. The likelihood of a car accident is much higher when a consumer is utilizing tires that are worn, old, not properly inflated or even recalled. As drivers we tend to pay attention to items that flash on our dashboard or when a routine oil change turns into a $2,000 expense because other problems were found.
It only takes one defective tire to create a tragedy. In fact, a study done by SafeCar.gov reports that over 11,000 accidents occur each year due to tire-related issues. Furthermore, an average of 200 people lose their life in tire-related accidents—an outcome that could have been avoided if the matter was not overlooked so often.
Another study done by the NHTSA found that out of the 2,189,000 crashes it reviewed, the hazardous reason for approximately 15,000 crashes was tire or wheel-related. A recent review indicated that twelve percent (12%) of vehicles that were made between 2004 and 2011 had at least one tire underinflated by 25 percent (25%) or more.
If we pay more attention to our tires, more lives can be saved! Below, there are tips consumers can use to assist in making the safety of their tires a priority:
- Follow the recommended tire pressure in pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) for your vehicle. This information is found on the vehicle placard typically inside the car door and in the vehicle owner’s manual.
- Purchase a tire pressure gauge to keep in your vehicle. Tires lose one PSI every month, so it is important to check your tires monthly to ensure proper inflation.
- If your vehicle is equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), know where the TPMS warning is on your dashboard, and take action if you receive a warning.
- Check your vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations for tire replacement for your vehicle. Some vehicle manufacturers recommend six years, some tire manufacturers recommend 10 years as the maximum service life for tires, including spares.
- Monitor the tread on all tires on your vehicle. Tires with tread worn down to 2/32 of an inch or less are not safe and should be replaced.
- Look for tread wear indicators – raised sections spaced throughout the bottom of the tread grooves. When they appear it is time to replace your tires.
- Try the penny test. Place a penny in the tread of your tires with President Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of President Lincoln’s head, your tire has less than 2/32 of an inches of tread and you are ready for new tires.
- Remember that seat belts are your best defense in a crash.
Before heading out on your next road trip or a small commute across town, be sure to examine your tires. It could make all the difference in your life and the lives of others!