The maintenance of your vehicle’s tires can play a surprisingly large role in keeping you and your family safe. Worn tires can dramatically increase the risk of a collision or rollover accident. Vehicles out of alignment can create unexpected bald spots on tires, which can lead to a sudden blowout. Improperly inflated tires can do the same. Keeping an eye on the tread level and tire pressure of your vehicle’s tires is one important way of staying as safe as possible on the roads. Poorly maintained tires can do the opposite, putting you and your passengers at risk of a car crash.
Tire blowouts are the most dangerous of mechanical failures associated with worn tires. A tire blowout is when a tire bursts while in use, leading to a rapid depressurization. It’s very apparent when it happens: it sounds like an explosion followed by what seems like a fight between your vehicle and your steering wheel. Tire blowouts can happen suddenly, without warning, and when they do, drivers have very little time to react. Taking the wrong course of action can lead to loss of vehicle control, a collision, or even a rollover accident. Tire blowouts are one of the leading causes of single-vehicle crashes, but knowing how to react after a blowout occurs can reduce the risk of an accident.
- Recognize the situation and remain calm – Overreacting to a tire blowout can lead to loss of control over your vehicle, so stay calm and collected throughout the ordeal.
- Try to drive straight – Your car will fight you on this and will likely jerk towards one side. Grip the steering wheel firmly and attempt to stay in your lane.
- Do not brake immediately! – This may seem counter-intuitive, but hitting the brakes in order to slow down can cause a loss of vehicle control. It’s actually safer to accelerate slightly to regain control of the vehicle before coasting to a slower speed.
- After decelerating to a safe speed, pull over – The scariest part is over. Once you’re under about 20 mph, turn on your hazard lights and slowly navigate your vehicle to safety on the shoulder or side of the road and call for help.
The faster a vehicle is traveling on bald tires, the more likely a tire blowout can occur and the more dangerous the blowout will be. In addition to blowouts, worn tires see an increased risk of hydroplaning in wet weather, reduced handling capabilities in cold-weather, and can cause tires to lose air pressure more quickly, which is in itself a risk factor for tire blowouts.
It’s pretty easy to tell how worn your tires are. If your tire surface is smooth, your tires are bald and should be replaced immediately. If your tread is less than 2/32 of an inch, you should take steps to get new tires very soon. A simple way to measure whether or not your tires meet this 2/32 inch threshold is the penny test. Place an upside-down penny in your tire treads. If you can see all of Abraham Lincoln, it’s time to replace your tires. You should also replace your tires if you can see any indicator bars on your tires or if you see cracks developing in the sidewall. If your tire treads are wearing down unevenly, be sure to check your vehicle’s alignment and rotate your tires every 7,500 miles.
Find a tire maintenance guide from Goodyear here.
Your tires’ well-being affects more than just you and your passengers. It can affect other drivers on the road, just as their tires can affect you. Experiencing a blowout on a traffic-filled freeway can cause catastrophic collisions, and if tire maintenance is a cause in the crash, the driver of the poorly-maintained vehicle can be found at fault. If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision stemming from a tire blowout, or any other car accident at which you’re not at fault, our law firm can help you seek medical treatment, car repairs, lost wages and more. Call us today at 888-517-9888 for a free case evaluation. We provide no-risk legal representation to the victims of car accidents.