Tire maintenance is a key to driving safely

One of the most important aspects of car maintenance is ensuring that tires are in good shape. Worn or bald tires are common contributors to car accidents, and risk can easily be reduced by regular replacement of worn tires.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration completed a recent study of 11,500 vehicles that showed that nearly 50 percent had at least one tire with half-worn tread. Another 10 percent had at least one bald tire with grooves with depths of 2/32 inches or less. Drivers need to be aware that, although their tires may be in good condition, there is no guarantee that other cars have received the required maintenance.

Reduced tread on a tire can significantly increase the chance of an accident due to the lack of grip on the road. High speed decreases a car’s traction in clear driving conditions that can improve performance. However, worn tires need additional stopping time, which is not always possible to ensure safety.

At a speed of 20 mph, worn tires have been shown to require an additional 12 feet to stop in snow than new tires. Some people may like their car’s performance on worn tires when conditions are good, but the trade-off between requiring additional stopping time in inclement weather and better grip in good weather is not worth the risks that far outweigh any benefit.

At a time when drivers are often distracted with conversation, eating, cell phone usage or any number of things, good tires can mean the difference between safely arriving at a destination and ending up in litigation due to a collision. Attorneys can provide numerous examples of how worn tires have been the cause of serious accidents and injuries.