Tire Care & Safety - General Driver Safety
Taking good care of your tires is crucial to driving safely. After all, there’s a lot riding on your tires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 11,000 car crashes each year are caused, at least in part, by tire failure, and many people lose their lives to tire failure-related crashes. Just like changing your oil and filling your tank with gas, maintaining your tires should be part of your regular car maintenance routine.
Properly maintained tires improve the traction, stopping and steering of your vehicle. To help protect you and others from avoidable breakdowns and crashes, get to know the early warning signs of tire failure. If you notice any of the early warning signs, have your tires inspected by a professional to determine the cause and whether your tires should be replaced. Here are some tire safety tips from the NHTSA that will help keep you driving safely year-round:
- Worn Tread
Most tires have built-in tread-wear indicators which let you know when the tread is worn down and it’s time to replace your tires. Alternatively, you can check tread depth by using a Lincoln-head penny. Insert the penny upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tread is too worn and tires should be replaced.
- Maintain proper inflation
Carry a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle and check the tires on a regular basis.
Inflate your tires to your manufacturer’s instructions.
- Watch your weight limits
Don’t overload your truck bed or cram too many passengers in the vehicle
- Slow down on damaged roads
Try to avoid potholes, curbs, and other dangers.
- Check tires
Occasionally check your tires for cracking or cuts in the sidewalls, or nails or screws that may have become lodged in the tread.
View the entire Tire Safety guide from NHTSA, which includes other important information about properly inflating tires.
In addition to proper tire car and maintenance, it’s important to know what kinds of things are associated with tire failure? Safercar.gov suggests that the following conditions will increase your risks substantially, so just be extra aware if you experience any of these:
- Hot weather
Most tire failures happen between May and October, when temperatures are highest.
- Poor road conditions
Numerous potholes, bumps, nails and other debris can damage tires.
- Low tire pressure
Not maintaining good tire pressure creates wear and strains your vehicle’s ability to carry its weight.
- Overloading your vehicle
Especially in the case of pickup and cargo trucks, overloading and pushing the weight limits creates high tire pressure.
- Bald or worn tires
Tires that have lost their tread or have too many miles on them are more likely to fall apart.
In addition to taking good care of your tires, it’s a great idea to brush up on some safe driving tips and be prepared in case you run into any trouble on the road. Check out some of our resources here at iRideSafe™ and watch our videos to help you feel safer and more confident behind the wheel.
 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). SAFETY ADVIROSY: NHTSA Urges Drivers to Check Tires During Hot Weather. 28 June 2013.[cited 2016 May 9]. Available at URL: http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/SAFETY+ADVISORY:+NHTSA+Urges+Drivers+to+Check+Tires+During+Hot+Weather