As the weather warms up, it’s especially important for drivers to inspect their tires for proper inflation and signs of tread wear and damage before driving.
With the onset of the heavy summer driving season and National Tire Safety Week, June 5-11, DOT is urging motorists to ensure that their family trip doesn’t turn into a tragedy because of neglected tires.
The latest data from our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that, from 2005 to 2009, nearly 3,400 people died--and an estimated 116,000 were injured--in tire-related crashes. If we all pay a little attention to our tires, we can make America's roads a lot safer.
While 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.
Underinflated tires spinning on hot asphalt for extended periods of time is a recipe for disaster.
Fortunately, you can take a few simple but important steps to prevent this:
- Maintain proper tire pressure, particularly during hot weather.
- Observe tire and vehicle load limits. Don’t overload your vehicle. When towing a trailer, some of the weight of the trailer is transferred to the towing vehicle.
- Avoid road hazards.
- Inspect tires and valves for cuts, slashes, weather cracking and other irregularities.
- Inspect tire tread depths and replace any tires that are worn down to their built-in treadwear indicators.
- Make sure your tire valves have valve caps.
- Check cold tire pressure setting before going on a long trip.
According to the Department of Energy, under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage.
For a vehicle with a fuel-economy rating of 30 miles per gallon and a 35 PSI tire pressure recommendation, underinflating your tires by 25 percent would create a loss of 8.8 percent in fuel economy, or a drop of 2.6 miles per gallon.
With gas prices around $4 a gallon and many people taking long trips during the summer months, that’s some serious money being thrown away. Properly inflating your tires will ensure that your car is getting the most out of every gallon of gas you purchase.
No matter what the season, DOT wants you to be safe on our nation’s roads. Taking these easy, important steps will help your family have a safe summer and save money at the same time.