Vehicle occupants and the road meet through a too often neglected part of the automobile – the tires.
The tires are an integral and vital part of the safety of a vehicle. While defective tires and tire recalls are out of a motorist’s control, there are certain indicators and tire checkpoints that may help motorists remain safe on the road.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire maintenance can improve a vehicle’s traction, fuel economy, braking, handling, and tire life. If not properly maintained or monitored, tire blowouts, tread separation, and flat tires may lead to a car accident resulting in serious injury or death; a five minute check may help reduce the number of car accidents attributed to tires.
Tires are manufactured through a process involving intense heat where the rubber, steel wire, and fabric cord are molded together to form the rounded shape of the tire. Generally, a defective tire was not molded and rounded properly creating a slight cone shape to the tire.
If a driver notices the car pulling to one direction after new tire installation, they should return to the service department as soon as possible for verification.
Under-inflation and over-loading the vehicle (total weight of vehicle, including cargo, exceeds tires’ weight capacity) are main contributors to tread separation. Separated tread occurs when the tire’s belt and tread separate from the tire’s body.
Tire information placards located on the doorpost, in the glove box, or inside the trunk lid should be consulted to ensure proper inflation and weight capacity.
A tire blowout occurs when a tire’s air pressure is lost rapidly. Road hazards, such as curbs, animals and potholes, may lead to a potential blowout.
- Drivers should regularly check tires for abnormalities (cuts, slashes, protruding bumps/knots and other irregularities)
- Two short five second video clips on safercar.gov illustrate what a driver should and should not do in the event of a tire blowout
- In the event of a tire blowout, do NOT panic/overreact, step/slam on the brakes or release your foot from the accelerator. DO gradually release foot from the accelerator and then correct the steering as necessary (smoothly and calmly). Finally, after your vehicle has stabilized, slow down and ease off the side of the road when safe.
Tire recalls occur because people have complained about tires; the complaints are reviewed by The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), an office within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists. In 2011, at least 395,000 tires have been recalled; specifically, over 390,000 of those recalls were by Continental Tire in March.
Stay in touch with the latest product recalls and safety information by reading the burnetti.com/blog, or by “Liking” Burnetti, P.A. on Facebook. If your vehicle is affected by a recall, follow the instructions in the recall notice immediately.To help reduce the number of tire-related accidents, motorists can conduct a five-minute safety check on a regular basis:
- Check tire pressure with a gauge.
- Check tire pressure when cold (car has not been driven for 3 hours).
- Fill tires to pressure indicated on information label located in the glove box or on the driver’s side doorpost, not by what is listed on the tire’s sidewall.
- Don’t forget to check the spare tire’s pressure.
- Insert a penny into the tire groove with President Lincoln’s head facing down. If adequate tread remains, then part of Lincoln’s head will be covered. If Lincoln’s head is completely visible, then the tire’s tread has worn down to approximately 1/16 of an inch and needs replaced.
Routine Tire Maintenance:
- Rotate tires about every 5,000 miles or according to vehicle owner’s manual.
- Tire alignment should be performed when the driver notices the car pulling or drifting in a particular direction.
Monitoring and maintaining the safety of a car’s vehicles may reduce the potential for a car accident. If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, or defective or recalled tires, you may be eligible to pursue a claim for damages.
Burnetti, P.A.’s car accident attorneys assist clients in motor vehicle cases obtain the compensation they deserve. Call 1-888-BURNETTI for a free case evaluation.