Motor Vehicle Safety: Where the Rubber Hits the Road

Jay Stillman

3 min read

Are Your Tires Safe in Hot Weather?

At Stillman and Friedland, we work hard to recover money to cover costs for our clients’ car and truck injuries. It is inevitable that accidents will happen, but we prefer that people stay safe! Our safety tip today comes from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), and it is all about driving safely on the right tires for hot summer weather. While in the winter, we worry about appropriate tires for snow and ice, in summer the right tires are tires in good condition. That means checking tire pressure and making sure worn tires are replaced in a timely manner.

According to the NHTSA:

“…Hot weather and under-inflated tires are a dangerous combination. In the summer months, while vehicles are being driven at highway speeds, the heat and hot roadways contribute to the breakdown of tires and a greater likelihood for tire failure.”

Tire failure can and does lead to accidents caused by blowouts and tread separation; the key contributing factors are under-inflation, worn (bald) tires, and high temperatures. Steel-belted radials are at special risk for separation because of the combination of materials. Approximately 11,000 crashes happen every year due to tire failure. The “remains” of blowouts and tread separations, “tire gators” at the sides of the road bear witness to tire failures. This kind of failure can cause the driver to lose control of a car at a high rate of speed, resulting in a crash.

According to Popular Mechanics, beware of tire blowout from May to October:

“The reason more tires fail from late spring to early fall is simple: That’s when the outside temperature is the hottest, and when motorists are driving farther, and faster, in more heavily loaded vehicles. The combination can push a neglected or injured tire beyond its breaking point. However, tire failures can happen any time of year, especially in the warmest parts of the United States.”

Whether you are loading the car up for a family vacation, or just using the car more often to take the kids on outings and activities, check your tires before you go!

  • First do the tread depth “penny check” to see if worn tires need replacement. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, you have too much wear. This chart shows why new treads are so much safer than worn tires.

Stopping distances by tire wear Source:

  • Another tip is to routinely check tire pressure at the gas station when you fill up. Under-inflated tires will give you poorer gas mileage and increased wear. If you are loading more gear than usual on a hot day with low tire pressure, you and your passengers are at risk of a tire failure crash.

Gas prices are low this year and more people will be going on driving vacations. Remember that wherever you go, safety first is your best guarantee of a great time!

Stillman and Friedland wish you a happy summer and happy travels.

Because we care…