Summer Heat and Tire Blowouts: How to Ensure Vehicle Safety in the Heat

As you drive down the highway in the summer heat, you are likely to see shredded tires along the side of the road. Why do we see this? According to Popular Mechanics, tire blowouts frequently occur between mid-May and October due to breakdown of tires from higher temperatures, increased vacation travel and cars weighed down with vacation gear1. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that tire failure is the cause of 11,000 automobile collisions each year, resulting in approximately 200 deaths2,3.

NHTSA recommends the following safety precautions to avoid a tire blowout 2:

  • Keep your tire pressure at the recommended pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) for your vehicle. The recommended PSI is found on the vehicle placard, located inside the driver door or in the vehicle owner’s manual.
  • Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle to regularly check that your tires are properly inflated – tires lose pressure monthly and fluctuate with temperature changes.
  • If your vehicle is equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), check your tire pressure when the TPMS warning light comes on.
  • Know when your tires should be replaced. A tire replacement recommendation is found in the vehicle owner’s manual.
  • Tires with tread worn down to 2/32 of an inch or less are not safe. This can easily be determined by placing a penny in the tread of your tires with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your tire has less than 2/32 of an inch of tread.
  • If your tires have raised sections spaced throughout the bottom of the tread grooves, your tires need to be replaced.

If you do experience a tire blowout, here are some tips to remain safe4:

  1. Keep the vehicle controlled by holding the steering wheel with both hands.
  2. Try to maintain your vehicle speed.
  3. Avoid applying the brakes or removing your foot from the accelerator. Sudden movements can cause the car to become uncontrollable.
  4. Once your vehicle has stabilized, slowly decrease your speed and pull off to the side of the road.

Car accidents can occur without warning. Having worn or unmaintained tires can make an accident more likely to occur. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident due to someone’s negligence, contact the Law Offices of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti LLP at 1800LAW1010 (1-800-529-1010) or fill out this form to get started.

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