According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes involving tire-related issues contribute to 195 fatalities annually. The Arizona heat can destroy tires much faster than most states, which is why you should always keep an eye on your tires, and educate yourself on tire safety.
“Only 1 out of 6 drivers know how to properly check tire pressure,” said John Walter, director of automotive services for AAA Arizona. “As a go-to source for automotive information, AAA recommends checking your tire pressure each month to help fuel economy, make tires last longer and optimize vehicle safety.”
A new national survey by The Rubber Manufacturers Association, which represents tire manufacturers in the United States, conducted the survey to gauge motorists’ awareness. Among its findings:
- More than half (52%) of drivers don’t know where to find the correct inflation pressure for their vehicle. Find it on a label on a vehicle’s driver side door jamb or owner’s manual. Forty-eight percent of drivers wrongly believe that the correct pressure is listed on the tire sidewall.
- 40 percent of drivers don’t know that tires should be checked “cold” – before driving or after sitting for at least three hours. As tires roll, they warm up, which causes the pressure to increase and could give a false tire pressure reading.
- 52 percent of drivers do not know how to tell if their tires are bald. Stick an upside-down quarter into a tire tread. If you see all of Washington’s head, the tire is bald and needs to be replaced. All tires have “wear bars” when the tread depth is at 2/32nd of an inch. When tread is worn down to that point, the tire needs to be replaced.
- 2 out of 3 drivers do not check the tire pressure in their spare tire. Don’t be unpleasantly surprised if you get a flat tire and don’t have a properly inflated spare.
- Nearly 3 out of 4 motorists cite checking tire pressure as a top fuel-saving tip. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that drivers can save 11 cents per gallon with properly inflated tires at current fuel prices.
Fuel savings is certainly a valid reason to regularly check your tires, but safety is the most important reason to do so. Diligence is often the key to safety. Even if not once per month, an occasional check of your tires is recommended for good driving and safety.