The hot weather is doing more than just making us sweat. It's also putting us at some serious risks for a traffic accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), hot weather and under-inflated tires pose some serious threats to motorists. When driving at highway speeds, the heat and the hot pavement can contribute to the wear and breakdown of your tires, and increases the risk for tire failure.
Many drivers are aware of the importance of their vehicle's performance and crash-test ratings. But are we as familiar with one of the most important features of our vehicle in avoiding a crash?
Our Knoxville car accident attorneys understand that there are more than 10,000 accidents each and every year because of tire failure. The most common cause of these kinds of accidents include under-inflated tires, bald tires, blowouts and tread separations. When your tires are under-inflated or extremely worn, not only are you at higher risks for an accident, but you're also going to get poor fuel economy, worse handling, a longer distance to stop and increased stress on tire components.
Keeping your tires properly inflated is critical when it comes to maximizing performance. With properly maintained tires, you're going to be able to improve your steering, your stopping distance, your traction and your ability to carry heavy loads. As a matter of fact, properly-inflated tires can improve your gas mileage by close to 5 percent, and that means more money in your pocket.
Rubber begins to break down over time. Heat accelerates this process.
To help to prevent these kinds of accidents, consider these safety recommendations:
-Make sure that your tires are filled to the proper pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) for your car. You can find this information in the vehicle's owner's manual or on the vehicle's door placard.
-Get your own tire pressure gauge, keep it in your vehicle and use it frequently. You can lose a significant amount of air in just a month. Make sure to check tire pressure often, at least monthly, if not more frequently.
-If there's a tire pressure monitor on your dashboard, make sure you take immediate action if it alerts a warning.
-Take a look at the vehicle's owner manual to know how often your tires should be replaced. Some cars require replacement every six years while others only once every 10 years. (This includes spare tires.) Some tires may need replaced in as little as 18 to 24 months.
-Keep an eye on the tread of your tires. When tread is worn, consider purchasing a new set.
-Don't forget about your spare tire. Just because the tire hasn't been used and the tread is not worn doesn't mean the tire isn't still too old to operate safely.
-Even after all that is done, remember that a seat belt is your best defense against injury and death in the event of a motor-vehicle collision.