AAA is urging motorists to check the condition of their tires to reduce the risks of driving in wet and stormy weather this summer.
The National Transportation Safety Board reports more than 500 people die each year in tire-related passenger vehicle crashes and about 19,000 are injured.
Dangerous or defective tires are a much bigger issue than most motorists realize. Issuing a recall does not relieve a tire manufacturer or automaker of liability in such cases. Those injured in traffic accidents caused by defective tires can seek recovery through a product liability lawsuit. In fact, some of the nation's largest product liability lawsuits have involved dangerous or defective tires, like the Firestone/Ford litigation a decade ago.
Proper Tire Maintenance for Summer Road Safety
But many other tires are in poor condition because of age or improper tire service. Longer stretches between the routine maintenance of today's modern vehicles means mechanics have fewer opportunities to check tires for damage or wear, leaving tire safety largely in the hands of motorists.
Dangerous tire issues include:
- Incorrect inflation: Under- or over-inflation can result in blowouts, excessive tire wear and poor fuel mileage. Tires should be checked at least monthly to ensure proper inflation in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.
- Uneven wear: Uneven wear, typically at the outer edge of a tire, is a sign your tires need to be replaced. Tire life can be extended by proper tire rotation, which allow tires to wear more evenly.
- Bulges, cracks and blisters: These are tire emergencies that mean your tires are dangerous to drive on and must be replaced.
Safe Driving in Wet Summer Weather
Driving on worn tires requires nearly 100 more feet of stopping distance when traveling at highway speeds, while handling is reduced by 33 percent. AAA offers a number of safety tips for driving in wet weather:
- Avoid cruise control: Keeping all of your attention on driving will allow you to react more quickly.
- Reduce speed: Slow your speed to match visibility and driving conditions. Driving too fast for road conditions is a leading cause of traffic collisions in summer storms.
- Avoid sudden movements: Sharp turns, sudden acceleration, and braking can cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle in wet weather, particularly when driving on worn tires.
- Increase following distance: Give yourself plenty of time to react to traffic and road conditions.
If you have been injured in a crash, you should contact Recht Law Offices and find out how we can help you.