According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 8000 car accidents annually are caused by tire failure. Part of the problem, experts claim, is that while drivers check fluids and get their car tuned up, they can sometimes be cavalier about the state of their tires. Product liability may also be an issue — the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) claims that some tire manufacturers are not warning customers of known product problems.
One thing that customers can do is to learn about tire manufacturers and their products. Regular media updates about known tire problems can be very useful. For example, NHTSA received nearly 200 complaints in 2000 about Firestone tires and began investing. There were allegations that tire failure had caused 21 fatalities because the rubber on the tires came off the casing. Customers who know the risks of their brand can make more informed decisions about which tires to buy.
Another thing to be aware of are warning signs that most tire manufacturers are obliged to place on their tires. These can tell you which dangers are most common with a specific brand. Some of the more common tire failures, for example, include blowouts and sidewall failures. Sidewall failures occur when poor design and manufacturing lead to a sidewall exploding. Blowouts can occur if a tire becomes too worn before it is deflated.
Finally, drivers can ensure that tires are correctly maintained and in good shape. This not only helps to improve safety, but also keeps fuel efficiency high. One of the simplest types of maintenance that drivers can perform is to check tire pressure. According to the NHSTA, at least 10,000 personal injuries could be avoided each year if every driver checked their air pressure regularly. Another simple thing drivers can do to keep their tires safe is to have their tires correctly rotated. This should be done twice a year.
Drivers who regularly drive from Florida to areas where there is snow should invest in all-season tires or should have winter tires put on their cars. Driving without winter tires in snow and ice can mean skids and collisions. Even if a driver lives in Florida year-round, ensuring that tires are not worn is important. Treads offer good “grip” on the road. When the treads get worn down, slips and collisions are possible even in a simple rain shower.