Have you checked the tread on your tires lately? If you haven't, you should. Worn-out tires are an accident waiting to happen. Here's what you should know.
How dangerous are bad tires?
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, insufficient tire tread is behind more than 26% of motor vehicle crashes. An insufficient tread is defined as having a depth of less than 1/16th of an inch. However, most people don't seem to be aware of just how serious the dangers really are -- probably because they don't realize how treads actually work.
What do good tire treads prevent?
Good tire treads are essential for a number of reasons:
1. They prevent blowouts.
One of the worst things that can happen to a driver on the road is a sudden blowout. Unfortunately, a thin tread leaves very little protection from some common road hazards, particularly those found on city streets, like stray nails, small pieces of sharp wood, scraps of metal, and broken glass. A thick tread can't prevent every puncture, but it can prevent many. In addition, the grooves in good treads help direct the airflow in the right direction around tires, cooling them -- which also prevents blowouts on particularly hot days or on long highway trips.
2. The reduce hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning is what happens when a thin layer of water gets caught between a rotating tire and the surface of the road. It's something that can happen under even mildly rainy conditions. A tire with a worn-out tread can easily end up losing its grip on the road because it's the groves in a tire's tread that help deflect water away from the ground under the tire.
3. They help retain proper pressure.
You need good treads on your tires to keep the proper air pressure inside them. While this might not seem like a big issue, underinflated tires can't get hug the road well even when the ground is dry. That can affect your ability to steer -- particularly in windy conditions, while changing lanes, or on hills. It also can affect your ability to brake properly -- which can easily result in rear-end collisions.
You can't prevent every possible car accident -- but you can significantly reduce your chances of being in one by keeping your tires in good condition.
How do you check your tread?
There's a simple method for checking your tire tread -- and it doesn't require any sophisticated equipment. Just grab a penny and fit it into the groove in your tire's tread with Lincoln's head upside down. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, you need new tires because your tread is under 1/16th of an inch deep.
If you're in an auto accident with someone else, take a good look at their tire treads. There's every possibility that their bad tires were a cause of the accident -- which means that the responsibility for any damages could be theirs. For more advice, talk to an auto accident attorney today.