What Are the Dangers of Driving on Under-Inflated Tires?
- September 20th, 2018
- The Law Office of David E. Gordon
The scorching hot temperatures during the middle of summer are an incredibly common time for tire blowouts. A tire blowout can be a very frightening experience that may be the result of simple wear and tear, a possible tire defect, or a vehicle owner’s failure to properly inflate their tires.
What Are the Dangers of Driving on Under-Inflated Tires?
In cases where a tire is underinflated, more of the tire’s surface is coming into contact with the hot road. This can cause increased friction, severe wear and tear, tread separation, and ultimately blowouts.
If you were seriously injured or your loved one was killed in a car accident caused by a blown tire in Tennessee, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. The Law Office of David E. Gordon represents residents and visitors involved in crashes all over the greater Memphis area. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will not pay us a cent unless you receive a monetary award for you. Call (901) 818-4889 to have our personal injury lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free consultation.
Technology Helps Prevent Under-Inflated Tires
Fortunately, there are safety measures in place to help drivers maintain proper inflation on their tires. The passage of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act in 2000 assigned a number of consumer safety measures to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). One of the major measures that resulted from the legislation was that tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) become commonplace in most motor vehicles sold in the United States.
A 2003 NHTSA report estimated that tire blowouts and flat tires caused 78,392 crashes, resulting in 414 fatalities and more than 10,000 injuries annually, before TPMS became more common in vehicles. Not every TPMS works the same, but most systems have the same function and typically activate an indicator light on the driver’s dashboard to alert them of a problem.
How Do I Know How Much Pressure Should Be in My Tires?
For most vehicles, the actual optimum tire pressure can usually be found printed on the Tire and Loading Information Label on the driver’s side door jam or possibly under the hood or in the owner’s manual.
For many people, the simplest way to monitor air pressure is to buy a tire gauge. Keep in mind that the tire pressures listed on most vehicle stickers indicate pressure for “cold” tires.
Tires heat up as a person drives, and it generally takes a couple hours for them to cool down. Try to keep your tire pressure as close as possible to the recommended pounds per square inch (PSI) level, as overinflating tires also runs the risk of blowouts when the tires strike certain objects, such as potholes.
What Is the Best Way to Check Tire Pressure?
A tire pressure gauge may be standard or digital. Most gas stations that sell air for a couple of quarters have air pressure gauges attached to the machines.
Again, a person should check the tire pressure when the tires are cold and the individual knows what the manufacturer’s recommended PSI level is for each tire. To use a tire gauge, a person simply unscrews the valve cap from a tire, places the gauge onto the valve stem, and then waits a couple of seconds for a reading.
With a digital gauge, the reading is usually displayed on a screen. For a standard gauge, a small bar will typically protrude from the bottom of the device with PSI measurement units etched into that bar.
People should make it a regular practice to check their tire pressure. In most cases, doing this once a month can help prevent under-inflation and possible tire blowouts.
Tire Safety Tips
Tire pressure is, of course, only one aspect of tire maintenance. According to the NHTSA, tire malfunction was a contributing factor in 733 motor vehicle fatalities in 2016.
Owners should also check the tread of their tires. Tire tread is extremely important for grip and traction — especially in adverse weather conditions. The easiest way to check your tire treads is through the so-called “penny test.” Simply take a penny and place it into your tire tread with Abraham Lincoln turned upside down. If the bottom of the coin is touching the tire and you can see the top of the president’s head, it is probably time to replace the tires.
For many vehicles, it is also recommended that the owner have tires rotated, usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Tire rotation is not possible on all vehicles, as some models have different size tires for rear and front wheels.
That said, ensuring you have proper tire size for your vehicle is also important. Your tires should always match the size recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
Who Is to Blame for a Crash Caused by a Tire Blowout?
When a motor vehicle accident is caused by a tire blowout, it is not always immediately clear who might be liable for injuries to victims. When a blowout is the result of a vehicle owner’s failure to properly inflate or care for tires, then that driver will likely be responsible for the many medical bills, lost wages, and other damages suffered by victims.
In some cases, however, a tire blowout could be the fault of another party. The tire manufacturer could be responsible if the product was defective, or a maintenance company may be liable for improper installation or care.
Contact Us Today to Discuss Your Case
Were you or a loved one severely injured in a car accident caused by a tire blowout in Tennessee? You should avoid making any kind of recorded statement to an insurance company until you have legal representation.
Contact the Law Office of David E. Gordon as soon as possible. Our firm represents clients in communities in and around Memphis. Our attorney can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (901) 818-4889 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.