According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Association, there are nearly 11,000 tire-related crashes each year, 200 of which are fatalities. As surveyors, traveling from project to project makes the miles add up quickly, so it’s important to check your tires regularly for wear and tear. Stay safe on the roads by following these 8 tire maintenance tips:
1. Check tire pressure monthly, including your spare tire. Consider keeping a tire gauge handy in your glove compartment, and set a monthly alert on your phone to remind you when it’s time to check your tire pressure.
2. Make sure you have a jack and properly inflated spare tire in your vehicle. Don’t risk being stranded in the middle of nowhere if you do get a flat.
3. Inflate tires to correct pressure levels according to the sticker on the driver’s side
jamb or the vehicle owner’s manual. A common mistake is inflating according to the pressure levels listed on the tire sidewall, which is incorrect.
4. Monitor tires for irregular wear. This indicates that tires may need to be rotated, balanced, or aligned. Replace tires when tread depth is less than 1/6 of an inch or the wear bars show.
5. Use the penny trick to measure your tires’ tread: place a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside-down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.
6. Keep up with all other routine vehicle maintenance too – oil changes, tune-ups, battery checks, fluid levels – to ensure that your vehicle is operating safely.
7. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes a cell phone, flashlight, jumper cables, flares, water, and non-perishable food.
8. If you do experience a tire blowout, follow these steps:
a. Don’t slam on the brakes. Instead, gradually release the accelerator.
b. Stabilize your vehicle and regain control by correcting the steering.
c. Look where you want the vehicle to go, and steer in that direction.
d. Once you have regained control of your vehicle, continue to slow down.
e. Pull off the road to a safe place and away from traffic.
During the hotter months, high temperatures and hot roads increase the chances of a tire failure, so you may need to monitor your tires more often.
Keeping up with routine tire maintenance is a key step in staying safe on the roadways. While it’s impossible to prevent all tire failures, following the above steps can significantly reduce the chances of a tire-related accident.