Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a consumer advisory, urging all motorists to inspect the tires of their vehicles to ensure they are properly inflated and to check for indications of tread wear and damage before driving in hot weather during the summer months. The announcement overlaps with National Tire Safety Week, which lasts from June 5 until 11, and was planned to coincide with the summer season, a time when more motorists are on the nation’s roads and vehicles are often overloaded with luggage as families head out for extended vacations.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2005 to 2009, close to 3,400 people were killed, and approximately 116,000 were injured in vehicle accidents that were determined to have been tire-related. The DOT warns motorists that using tires that are old during hot weather can be a potentially fatal combination, since aged tires are more vulnerable to suffering stress from heat, particularly if they are not inflated properly. Motorists should check the sidewall of their tires to check to see how old each tire is, as well as check with their owner’s manual or the tire manufacturer regarding how often they should change their vehicle’s tires.
In addition to safety benefits, having tires that are inflated properly will improve the fuel economy of a vehicle. The Department of Energy reports that under-inflated tires can decrease gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 pound per square inch (PSI) drop in pressure in all four tires. For example, for a vehicle that has a fuel economy rating of 30 miles per gallon and a tire pressure recommendation of 35 PSI, a drop of 25 percent in tire pressure would equal a loss of 8.8 percent in fuel economy, which is a drop of 2.6 miles per gallon.
For most of us, we don’t even consider the state of our tires before getting in our cars to drive to the store or embark on a much-needed vacation. However, as this advisory from the DOT shows, it is important to regularly inspect tires, particularly before a long journey. As Portland car accident lawyers, we have unfortunately seen the devastation accidents caused by defective or poorly maintained tires or a negligent motorist can cause injured victims and their families to suffer. If you have questions regarding your involvement in a car crash in Oregon, call Shulman DuBois LLC at 503-222-4411 to get the answers you need.