The American Automobile Association (AAA) has issued a warning about the risks of bad tires and wet summer roads.
AAA reports driving on bad tires reduces your vehicle’s handling ability by more than 30 percent and requires nearly an extra 100 feet to stop when driving at highway speeds.
Checking Inflation and Tire Wear
Consumers must learn to check their own tires for wear. The reduction in routine maintenance appointments of today’s newer vehicles means your mechanic has fewer chances to do it for you.
AAA and the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center conducted wet-braking tests to measure performance of new all-season tires and those worn to a tread depth of 4/32 inch. Most passenger vehicle tires start with a tread depth of about 10/32nds (5/16ths) of an inch. Some states have laws requiring tire replacement at 2/32 or 1/32 of an inch.
In South Dakota, SDLRC 32-19-13 requires 2/32 of an inch on any two adjacent tread grooves. Front tires of vehicles designed to carry 10 or more passengers, or with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds, must have at least 3/32 of an inch. Federal law now requires all tires to come with tire-wear bars, which are placed horizontally beneath the tread surface. Once your tire tread is worn even with the wear bars, your tires need to be replaced.
Aside from wear, the biggest tire-safety issue is overinflated or underinflated tires. Motorists should check their tire pressure at least monthly and inflate according to vehicle and manufacturer instructions.
Tire pressure will be higher in warm tires than in cold. Bridgestone advises motorists to check the pressure when tires are cold and inflate to manufacturer specifications. Underinflated or overinflated tires can reduce handling, increase tire wear, reduce fuel economy, and increase the risk of a tire blowout.
Liability for Auto Accidents Caused by Tires
Bad weather isn’t the only risk when it comes to dangerous or defective tires. In fact, good weather can be just as dangerous. Hot weather and high summer road temperatures can quickly degrade tires, particularly if they are older or already worn. Cracks along the sidewalls are a sure sign your tires are dry rotting and should be replaced.
Uneven wear along the edges, bulging sidewalls, blisters, or visible tire mesh are all tire emergencies and mean your tires must be replaced. When a motor-vehicle collision is caused by worn or defective tires, victims may have a case for compensation from an at-fault driver, vehicle owner, auto service center or dealership, or tire manufacturer, depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case.