Tire Safety Tips To Help Prevent Car Accidents

-Posted On November 10, 2012 In Automobile Accident-

Like many Californians, you may drive your automobile everywhere, trusting that your tires will always give you enough traction to keep you heading in the right direction and under control. Under ideal conditions, as long as your car is maintained mechanically and your tires are also well maintained, you are most likely to get where you are going without mishap. However, stormy or snowy weather, poorly maintained roads and road debris are all part of the California driving experience; so we must plan ahead and make sure our car tires can handle challenging conditions as well as smooth easy dry roads. Fall is here. And Winter is coming.

A new report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown that 1 in 20 auto accidents may be linked to tire-related issues. Under-inflated tires seem to be the biggest culprit:

“Underinflation was the biggest problem, with a tire 25 percent below its rated pressure three times more likely to be involved in a crash.”

The NHTSA published the following list on Tire Safety Checklist that only takes 5 minutes of your time once per month. As a San Francisco Auto Accident Attorney, I consider automobile safety top priority. If everyone rides more safely, then I won’t have as much business. But I will be very happy if something I blog about can help to reduce the amount or severity of accidents in our community.

  • Tire Pressure. Check tire pressure and make sure it’s filled to the range stated in your vehicle manufacturer’s owners manual–regardless of whether or not you are staying close to home taking short trips or about to embark on a long trip. If you are towing a trailer, don’t forget that some of the weight of the loaded trailer is transferred to the towing vehicle. If you are have a Tire Pressure Warning light, be thankful, but please note that once the warning light is illuminated, the tire pressure is already at a dangerous level. Under-inflation can impact the driver’s ability to slow down, steer and maneuver turns.
  • Tread Wear. Visually inspect the tread of all four tires, looking for bulges, cracks and other signs of trauma or wear. Tires with little or no tread lose traction and cause your vehicle to slide on wet or icy roads, while accelerating, turning or braking. Any rocks or glass should be removed. All tires have a tire-wear bar to compare your current tread against; if your tires are worn below the bar, it’s time to change your tires. Additionally, over-inflation and under-inflation lead to uneven tread wear and reduce the life of the tire.
  • Wheel Alignment. Inspect wheel alignment whenever the vehicle pulls to one side, has hit a curb or pothole, or sometimes even speed bumps. At the very least, alignment should be inspected on an annual basis.
  • Tire Rotation. Rotate tires regularly (mileage intervals depend on vehicle) to prevent uneven wear. The best practice is to rotate from front to back and side to side, in order to maintain even tread wear. New studies show that certain tire rotation can actually create more danger than it can help, so ask a tire maintenance professional you trust.
  • Driving Habits. Objects and debris could damage the lining of a tire and cause bulges in the sidewall, causing blowouts. Visually inspect every month to identify any wear problems that may have been caused by your driving habits, especially in the summer as higher temperatures deteriorate tires more quickly and more at risk. If you ever plan to load your car with extra weight, remember that increases the risks of tire failure.

Extend the life of your tires and improve your safety (and that of your friends and family) by following the information I provided here. You may save lives too.

If it’s predicable, it’s preventable…

About the author: Claude Wyle is an aggressive advocate for Bay Area motorists and passengers. Claude has decades of experience representing those harmed by the wrongful conduct of other, and, as a San Francisco personal injury attorney, has fought to protect the rights of injured motorists throughout his legal career.

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