The Importance Of Tire Safety
Something many drivers have been guilty of forgetting about is tire maintenance. However, the state of your tires is incredibly important. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 600 motor vehicle deaths in 2019 can be directly blamed on the tires of vehicles involved. Furthermore, the report states that driving a vehicle with badly worn tires puts you at three times the risk of having an accident as opposed to vehicles with tires that have sufficient tread depth. The NHTSA outlines the following important facts about your tires that will help to keep you safe while driving:
Having sufficient tread depth is essential for safe driving, particularly in the rain or snow. The tire tread will wear down over time so it is important to understand at what point they must be replaced. Tread that wears down to 2/32 of an inch depth is considered unsafe to drive with. The easiest way to measure this is by doing the “penny test.” Place a penny with Lincoln’s head pointing into the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then you are at 2/32 of an inch and the tires need to be replaced.
Tires are designed to last about 5 years and up to 50,000 miles or more. This doesn’t mean that they can’t wear out sooner. Regularly inspecting your tires will help you to immediately recognize signs of unusual wear or even damage. This is even more important if you live in an area where you consistently drive in hotter temperatures. Driving on roads for an extended time in hot temperatures can break down the materials of the tire. California drivers and Texas drivers are more likely to face such conditions. State legislatures have even passed stricter tire requirements in these states to reduce unnecessary risks.
Minor issues left unchecked can reduce the life of your tires. It is a safe driving practice to check your tire pressure once a month to prevent over or underinflation, both of which can cause faster tire wear. Make sure your tires are properly balanced and aligned. Rotating your tires every 5000 to 8000 miles is a standard recommendation from tire manufacturers.
NHSA offers online driver’s education courses for teen drivers getting their permit, or basic driver safety courses for those looking to save on auto insurance and feel more prepared to be a safe, defensive driver.