What You MUST Know About Tire Safety

by Terry Bryant

Proper vehicle maintenance is essential to accident-free driving, and tire safety is one of the key concerns when it comes to avoiding trouble on the road. We don’t usually pay much attention to our wheels, and problems rarely announce themselves either visibly or audibly. When the battery fails, we’ll know it immediately—the car won’t start; when a belt is loose, a high-pitch squealing sound is all it takes for us to realize it’s time to visit the auto repair shop; but when a tire gives out, it often comes as a complete surprise. Sadly, up to 600 deaths on America’s roadways are attributed to tire failure each year.

How tire safety is compromised

The full functionality and performance of the rubber on your wheels depends on a number of factors. The following circumstances may result in hazardous driving conditions:

  • Over-inflation can result in too much air pressure, possibly causing a blow-out
  • Under-inflation can cause excessive friction with the road surface, weakening the rubber and possibly resulting in a rupture
  • Worn treads increase vulnerability to punctures and may lead to hydroplaning on wet roads

Each of these situations has the potential to make you lose control of your vehicle, ending in an accident with injury or even death.

How to ensure tire safety

Regular maintenance of your wheels is imperative for safe traveling. Statistics show that each month, three out of four drivers wash their vehicles, while only one in seven check their air pressure correctly.

  • Select your tires carefully for a proper fit; avoid second-hand purchases and aged equipment
  • Check air pressure at least once a month (including the spare) and prior to long trips
  • Examine your wheels for tread wear, cracks, glass, nails and other foreign objects
  • Rotate them regularly to ensure even pressure and wear
  • Ensure the valve caps are in place
  • Avoid potholes, curbs, and objects in the road

Safe travels!