SACRAMENTO, Calif.--With graduations, vacation plans and summer festivities in sight, the thought of proper tire maintenance is likely not at the forefront of many drivers’ minds. To help raise awareness of the importance of safe tires during National Tire Safety Week, May 29 – June 4, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is encouraging all drivers to ensure that their vehicle’s tires meet safe driving standards before hitting the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an estimated 11,000 tire-related crashes occur yearly, resulting in nearly 200 fatalities.
“Proper car maintenance is an important part of traveling safely. National Tire Safety Week can be your cue to make checking your tires a regular habit,” said Rhonda Craft, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “Performing regular tire inspections and taking extra precautions before long drives is one of the simplest ways drivers can protect themselves and the ones they love.”
Unfortunately, fewer than 20 percent of consumers properly check and inflate their tires, often resulting in at least one tire that is significantly underinflated according to NHTSA data. This can leave drivers at increased risk for flat tires, blowouts or loss of tread – all of which are contributing factors to crashes. Additionally, poor tire maintenance can result in greater fuel consumption and shortened tire life.
The California Office of Traffic Safety reminds all drivers to keep the following tips in mind to ensure proper tire care – both during National Tire Safety Week and throughout the year:
- Check your tire pressure regularly – at least once per month – according to your car manufacturer’s recommendations for pressure levels. Remember to check the spare, and take extra care before long drives.
- Inspect your tire tread. Ensure that tread grooves are free of foreign objects, and lookout for built-in tread wear indicators, or “wear bars,” to appear. This means the tread is worn down to one-sixteenth of an inch and needs to be replaced.
- Perform regular tire rotations if recommended by the manufacturer, usually every 5,000-8,000 miles. Some vehicles do not require tire rotations, so be sure to refer to your owner’s manual for guidance.
- Avoid overloading your vehicle to prevent excessive heat inside your tires. Passengers, cargo and roof racks all contribute to the vehicle weight. Refer to your owner’s manual for the maximum recommended load for the vehicle.
- Lookout for potholes or other objects on the road, and slow down if you are unable to avoid them.
- Take extra care near curbs, especially when parking.
For a free brochure, go to www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ or call 1-888-327-4236. For additional tire safety information, visit www.safercar.gov. To learn more about other OTS efforts, visit www.ots.ca.gov, facebook.com/CaliforniaOTS and twitter.com/OTS_CA.