Driving is perhaps the most dangerous things we do daily. That danger increases when you’re driving a car with worn-out, bald tires that don’t have tread. Sadly, there’s a substantial percentage of drivers that can’t tell the difference between a normal tire and a bald one. The US Tire Manufacturer Association found in a study that one in three American drivers can’t tell whether a tire is bald or not. In addition to this, 40% of the people interviewed believed that they could tell if a tire was underinflated by just looking at it. Only 17% of the people interviewed in the survey knew how to properly check their tire pressure.
The findings of this study were first published in 2015 but they resurfaced again during the National Tire Safety Week this month.
So, why do tires really matter? It’s actually very simple. Bad tires could lead to serious accidents. It’s estimated that cars with worn-out tires are more likely to get involved in accidents compared to cars that have good tires. This is according to the NHTSA.
The report by the NHTSA found that the risk of tire-related crashes increases as the tire’s tread wears off. The accident rate of cars with new tires is just 2.4%. On the other hand, cars with worn-out tires have an 8% accident rate. In light of this, the NHTSA recommends that drivers start shopping for new tires as soon as the all-weather grip starts to wear off.
But sadly, based on the 2015 USTMA study, it seems that many drivers don’t know how to do this. If they can’t tell their tires are worn out, they won’t replace them. According to the NHTSA, inspecting your tires regularly and making sure that they are properly inflated is a very important thing. Properly inflated tires last long. This will save you a lot of money in replacements. As a rule of thumb, you should check your tire pressure and tread at least once a month.
Tires also come with built-in tread wear indicators. The indicators are designed to help even a beginner who knows nothing about car tires to tell if the tread wear is gone or not. The indicators are raised sections that run between the treads of each tire. When the tread is worn out to a point that it’s level with the indicator, then it’s time to replace the tire.
Some drivers prefer to leave this inspection to their mechanics during regular maintenance checks. This is often easier for people who may not know the various techniques used to check a tire tread. But regardless of the approach you take, the most important thing is to always make sure the tires are in good condition. This can be the difference between a safe ride and a fatal crash.