In many cases, there is nothing a driver can do to avoid a car crash. Poor weather, auto defects, and the negligence of other drivers can all contribute to or cause a crash that involves even the safest driver. There are some simple steps, however, that drivers can take to help reduce their chances of causing a crash themselves. For instance, conducting regular tire maintenance can prevent thousands of car accidents every year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around nine percent of all vehicle crashes are in some way related to problems with one of the driver’s tires. Some of the most common tire problems are caused by a lack of maintenance and include:
- Bald tires;
- Tread separation;
- Blowouts; and
- Under inflation.
Any of these issues could result in a serious accident. For instance, under inflation can make it much more difficult to steer and brake, both of which can have devastating consequences.
Many people believe that proper tire maintenance requires taking a vehicle into a mechanic or another professional. However, drivers themselves can conduct their own tire maintenance by taking the following steps:
- Checking tire pressure at least once a month (don’t forget the spare!);
- Inspecting tires for uneven wear patterns;
- Checking for cracks;
- Removing bits of glass or other objects that have become lodged in the tread; and
- Ensuring that none of the valve caps have come loose.
It’s especially important to regularly check tire pressure because:
- Tires lose air over time;
- Tires can lose air suddenly if the driver strikes a pothole or a curb; and
- It can be difficult to visually see whether a tire is appropriately inflated.
Finally, drivers should keep in mind that although the tire pressure recommended by manufacturers reflects the pounds per square inch (psi) of air that is required to fill the tire, this number reflects psi when a tire is cold. Tires naturally get warmer when a car is being driven, so it’s important to wait until the tires have cooled before testing the psi.
Drivers are encouraged to check their tires on a monthly basis. Many drivers choose to use the penny test, which is inexpensive and relatively simple. To gauge tread depth using the penny test, a driver only needs to place a penny into one of the tire’s treads. If the top of Lincoln’s head shows, the tire must be replaced as soon as possible.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
The NHTSA estimates that as many as 3,200 people are injured in crashes where tire aging was a factor every year. Fortunately, accidents caused by poor tire maintenance can be prevented, however, even the most careful drivers can be involved in crashes. If you were recently injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, please contact van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin at (215) 486-0123 to schedule a case evaluation with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney who can explain your legal options.