While poorly-maintained roads, distracted driving and inclement weather are all factors that can make for dangerous driving, an alarming percentage of car accidents in the United States are actually caused by problems with tires. As tire-related car accidents result in serious injury and tragic loss of life each year, the sad truth is that many of these accidents could have been avoided had the driver followed just a few simple safety tips regarding tire wear and tear. By regularly inspecting tires for damage and maintaining proper inflation, drivers in Texas can increase their fuel economy, improve overall handling, extend the life of their tires, and make their vehicle safer to drive. More importantly, maintaining quality tires can help prevent tire-related Texas car accidents and the resulting injuries and fatalities. If you have been injured in a Corpus Christi car accident, or if you lost a loved one in such an accident, contact our experienced car accident lawyers at Bandas Law Firm today.
FIVE IMPORTANT TIRE SAFETY TIPS
According to a new government report, as many as one in twenty auto accidents across the country could be linked to tire-related problems, with under-inflation being the most common factor. Inadequately inflated tires not only affect a vehicle’s stability, but also makes it considerably more difficult for a driver to maintain control in emergency situations, such as swerving to avoid an obstacle, or in inclement weather. By following these five safety tips compiled by the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorists in Texas can reduce the incidence of car accidents caused by tire-related problems.
Proper Tire Inflation
Never assume that your tires are properly inflated just because they don’t look flat; check your tire pressure monthly (including the spare), and always check it before taking a long drive. If you wait until the warning light comes on to inflate your tires, the tire pressure is already at a dangerous level. A tire that is under-inflated even just by 5 psi cannot grip the road properly and can impact the driver’s ability to steer, slow down and maneuver turns. In addition to being dangerous, under-inflation or over-inflation causes uneven tread wear and can significantly reduce the life of the tire. For the most accurate reading, check your tire pressure after your vehicle has been parked for a few hours.
Check your alignment annually, or when you suspect a problem with the alignment, such as if the car pulls to one side or the other while you are driving. Common causes of poor wheel alignment that can affect your tires include hitting potholes, curbs and speed bumps.
Tires with too little tread or no tread at all may hydroplane on wet roads, causing your vehicle to slide rather than stop when the brakes are applied. You should visually inspect all four tires, looking for cracks, bulges, and other signs of damage or excessive wear. You can perform the “penny test” to determine how worn your tread is – insert a penny with Lincoln’s head pointing down into the tire tread. If you can see any of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.
Regular Tire Rotation
Rotating your tires on a regular basis can prevent uneven tread wear and can extend the overall life of your tires. For vehicles with tires that are all the same size, rotate from front to back and side to side to maintain even wear. You can look in your owner’s manual to determine the proper rotation mileage intervals.
The way you drive significantly impacts the damage that your tires sustain. Sharp objects and road debris can damage the lining of a tire and cause bulges in the sidewall. Unfortunately, damaged sidewalls can lead to blowouts and serious accidents. As part of your driving routine, perform a visual inspection every month to identify any potentially dangerous wear or damage. This is especially important during the summer months, as higher temperatures can cause tires to deteriorate more quickly, increasing the risk of a blowout.