There are thousands of components that comprise a modern automobile and they range from the very small to the very large. Some of these parts serve a critical purpose, like a steering wheel, while others function more as a luxury, like a radio. With so many parts to a car, it is impossible to keep a close eye on every single aspect of a vehicle at every moment you drive.
However, some features deserve your attention both before you are in the car and while you are moving, and one of the big parts of a car that should be monitored but is often overlooked is a vehicle’s tires. Tires serve to support a vehicle’s load while also transmitting traction and braking capabilities from the car to the roadway, allowing a driver to control acceleration, deceleration, and direction. Tires also absorb road shocks and can be a determining factor in whether or not a car accident happens in Chicago.
Keeping your tires in optimal condition will make you a safer driver on the road, limiting the threat you pose to yourself and others. If you own a car or if you drive on occasion, keep the following tips in mind when it comes to tire safety:
- Visual Inspections: Often, a problem with a tire can be noticed just by looking at it, but for this to happen, you must conduct a visual inspection on a regular basis. At least once a week, walk around your car so that you can see all four tires. Quickly look at the tires to see if they are flat, if a foreign object is stuck in them, or if anything else seems unusual. Regularly look at the spare tire in your car as well because you want to keep the spare in working order in case it is ever needed.
- Check the Pressure: At least once a month, check the pressure in each of your tires to make sure it is in the acceptable range. If your tires are the original ones that came with your car, you can determine the appropriate pressure by checking the door jam on the driver’s door. Generally, there is a sticker posted in this area with information about the tires, including air pressure. As an added bonus, keeping optimal pressure in your tires will make your car more efficient and will save you some money at the gas pump.
- Use Valve Stem Caps: The small caps that screw on to the end of a valve stem of a tire may seem superfluous but in reality, they serve a purpose. They help to keep dirt and debris out of the valve stem which protects its integrity, enabling the tire to last longer. If you are missing one or more caps, replace them when you can and remember to put them back on your valve stems after you add air to your tires.
- Avoid Road Hazards: When you live in Chicago, the concept of avoiding road hazards may seem like an unattainable goal. This time of year, the roadways are filled with potholes and other issues that can make driving difficult, and you may have no choice but to run over them. However, whenever possible, avoid hitting potholes, striking curbs, or running over other debris in the roadways as these impacts can weaken your tires and cause them to fail.
- Monitor the Tread: A tire’s tread is the portion of the rubber surface of a tire that makes contact with a road. As a tire logs more miles, the tread is worn down and disappears. Driving on tires without appropriate tread is dangerous and will limit your ability to stop quickly or even control the direction of your car. Further, tread wear is a leading cause of tire blowout accidents and other tire failures so it is good to monitor the tread and replace the tire when it becomes worn. If you are unsure of your tire’s tread depth, take a Lincoln penny and place it in between the treads, head side down (toward the center of the tire). If the tread does not cover Lincoln’s head, it may be time for a new tire.
Do your best to keep your tires in proper working order, and know that if you are involved in a Chicago accident involving a tire issue, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages. Call the personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 to learn about your rights and legal options.
Prior Blog Entry:
Blizzard Brings Bad Weather, Car Accidents to Chicago, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published February 25, 2016.
Tires Safety Checklist, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.