DRIVE “TIRE SMART” KENTUCKY Are your tires ready for Autumn?
FRANKFORT, KY (October 20, 2006) The gray, rainy days that are typical of autumn weather in Kentucky create a particular driving risk that many motorists may not know about. Tire problems can send you sliding out of control. Stopping on wet roads can take up to four times the normal distance. If your tire tread is worn, tires will tend to hydroplane.
“Tires are designed to give you thousands of miles of safe and reliable service, but they are not immune to problems,” said Department of Transportation Safety Commissioner Tim Hazlette. “Unfortunately over the past two years in Kentucky there were more than 1,700 crashes due to tire failure, resulting in 703 injuries and 20 fatalities. Proper tire maintenance is a matter of personal responsibility. Routine inspections are quick and easy, yet essential in reducing the number of crashes on Kentucky’s roadways.”
As temperatures drop, special attention should be paid to your tires. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Department of Transportation Safety believes that taking care of your vehicle is an important step in creating safe driving habits and is offering tips on tire maintenance so you can “Drive Smart” this season.
How to Check Your Tread:
All you need to check your tread is a Lincoln penny. Insert Abe's head into the tread in a couple of spots on each tire. If you can see the entire top of his head, your tread is less than one-sixteenth of an inch deep - below the level where you can count on it in slippery conditions. It should be replaced.
Check for Uneven Tread Wear:
Uneven tread wear could mean a number of different problems - under inflation, tires out of balance, or wheels out of alignment. Take it to the dealer to identify and correct the problem. To reduce risk, rotate your tires approximately every 6,000 miles. The forces exerted on tires differ, depending on the tire's position on the car, and wear patterns may differ. Front wheels work harder because they do the turning and most of the braking, and rear wheels can be unevenly loaded.
Check Tire Pressure:
Tires have "wear bars" built into them. These are indicators that appear when you have worn your tread down to the limit. Don't neglect these signals. It’s best to check tire air pressure at least once a month with an accurate tire gauge. It’s difficult to tell if a tire needs air just by looking since it could be down 6 to 10 pounds and still look fine. The most serious consequence of riding on an under inflated tire is heat buildup caused by the increased flexing of a tire that isn't firm. Driving on under inflated or overloaded tires at high speeds over long distances - for instance, driving on the highway - can lead to tire failure.
For additional highway safety information, please visit the following websites:
The Kentucky Department of Transportation Safety, within the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, has been charged by Governor Fletcher to lead the Commonwealth’s coordination, communication and cooperation efforts among public and private safety partners to reduce preventable tragedies on Kentucky’s roadways.
The Department is responsible for reviewing highway safety data, identifying major causes for fatalities and injuries, and developing the necessary safety measures to educate and protect citizens. In addition, the Department provides critical highway condition and weather information on a 24-hour, 7-day basis.
For more information about the Department of Transportation Safety and its safety partners, please visit http://highwaysafety.ky.gov. The Department encourages you to Buckle Up Kentucky and Drive Smart!