As the weather warms up and more drivers hit the road to enjoy the summer travel season, poorly maintained tires can pose an increased threat to Missouri motorists. Your vehicle's tires might be increasing your chances of being involved in a car accident in Jackson, Perryville, Kennett or any of the surrounding Missouri areas.
"Tire care, while important throughout the year, is especially critical in warm weather because long trips, heavy loads, high speeds and higher temperatures all put additional stress on your tires," reports The Weather Channel. Indeed, that additional stress can cause a sudden blowout, a "bursting tire accompanied by a rapid loss of air pressure." When blowouts happen - and particularly, when they happen on highways - they can create ideal conditions for a serious or even fatal accident.
Last summer, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a consumer advisory urging all motorists to ensure that their tires are properly inflated and there are no severe signs of tread wear and damage. Given the unseasonably warm temperatures we've already experienced this year, we can expect to see another hot Missouri summer in 2012.
"As the weather warms up, it's especially important for drivers to ensure their tires are properly inflated," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in 2011. "For your safety and the safety of others on the road, inspect your tires regularly and maintain the proper inflation."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about 3,400 people died in tire-related accidents between 2005 and 2009. An estimated 1,166,000 motorists were injured in these incidents.
"While it's true improperly maintained tires can contribute to a crash at any time of year, it is particularly critical for motorists to check tires during hot weather, when families and luggage often overload vehicles for long vacation trips," NHTSA Administrator David Strickland warned. "Underinflated tires spinning on hot asphalt for extended periods of time can be a recipe for disaster."
Tire related accidents are totally preventable, provided drivers take proper precautionary steps. NHTSA encourages you to be proactive by checking your tire pressure regularly, especially before taking long trips. In addition, it is highly recommended that you monitor the wear and tear of your tires. Older tires are more susceptible to heat stress, and when they're also under inflated, the risk is even greater. You can examine the sidewall to assess a tire's wear. You can also check in your vehicle's owner's manual or with the manufacturer to see how often you should rotate and replace your tires.
In addition to lowering your risks of a serious accident, taking care of your tires can also help you keep some extra cash in your wallet. The Department of Energy reports that underinflated tires can lower your gas mileage by nearly 0.5% for every 1 PSI (pound per square inch) drop in pressure of all 4 tires. So, a vehicle with a fuel-economy rating of 30 miles per gallon and a 35 PSI tire pressure recommendation will lose 10% of its economy with a 10 pound drop in tire pressure. That's a drop of 3 miles per gallon!
Thus, in the interest of accident prevention, our southeast Missouri car accident lawyers urge drivers to keep their vehicles properly maintained, since their condition can directly impact your safety. In addition to keeping your tires properly maintained, keep an eye on your fluids and brakes as well.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Jackson, or anywhere in southeast Missouri, contact the personal injury lawyers at Aaron Sachs & Associates for a free initial consultation. Call 1-888-777-AUTO.
Attorney meetings by appointment only