The statistics are stunning: in 2014 alone, nearly three thousand teens were involved in fatal auto accidents. About 123,000 were injured, while only 38 percent of parents knew how to maintain tires to achieve maximum safety.
Durable tires are one of the keys to keeping your kids safe on the road. Keep tires properly maintained and they’ll last longer, ensuring you and your children get where you need to go. Educate kids about vehicle safety and tire maintenance, and they’re more likely to stay out of wrecks. Choose a tire brand, like Cooper Tires, that prioritizes safety, and you’re on the road to a secure driving experience for you and your family.
A Story of Traction
When Kim Delatorre was 18 years old, she found out what it’s like to drive on unsafe tires. Rain was pouring down on her way to work, and all of a sudden she found herself doing an unintentional 360 degree spin through an intersection. Turns out her tires were worn down to the point where the belts were showing. Kim’s story is ultimately the story of how she came to choose safe tires from Cooper, with great traction and durability, for her family’s Ford Bronco.
Kim is lucky she didn’t wreck, because five percent of vehicles have problems with their tires before a crash. With SUVs, 45 percent rollover as a result of collision. That’s according to the National Organization for Youth Safety, a nonprofit organization, which is partnering with Cooper Tires for the Tread Wisely program.
Tread Wisely is about educating teens and young adults on tire safety during that critical time in their lives when they’re still learning how to drive safely and wrecks are prevalent. As you’ll see, it’s not tough to make sure tires are safe for the road.
The road to prematurely worn-out and unsafe tires begins with poor pressure. The pressure measurement for tires is pounds per square inch (PSI). Like a balloon that requires enough air to maintain shape, every tire requires the right PSI to run at peak efficiency. If you’re driving around at an even eight PSI below the recommended level, it can reduce the life of your tires by 9,000 miles. This also means you’re wasting gas. Poor PSI increases your fuel consumption by up to four percent.
Find out the right PSI for your tires by looking in the owner’s manual or inside the car door. Check pressure when the car is cold. Remove the cap from the tire’s valve stem and check pressure with a pressure gauge, which you can find at any parts store. If pressure’s too low, give it some air from the nearest convenience store. If pressure’s too high—which is unlikely—release air by pressing on the tire valve with the knob at the end of the pressure gauge, or with a pen. Check pressure on a monthly basis for optimum performance.
Check Tread and Overall Condition
Even if you keep up on tire pressure, the tread on your tires will wear down over time. Insufficient tread depth is responsible for traction problems, including increased stopping times and hydroplaning. Many tires come equipped with wear bars, which are colored bands of smooth rubber you can see when tread is too low. No wear bars? Perform a visual inspection.
Take a penny and hold it at the bottom, so Lincoln’s head is showing. Then, place the penny in the tire’s tread groove. If the tread goes over the top of Lincoln’s head, you’re okay. If you can see the top of Abe’s head, it’s time to replace your tires. Tread depth shouldn’t be less than 1/16th of an inch all over the tire.
Also, look for any cracks in the sidewall of your tires. Inspect tread for uneven wear from misalignment, underinflation, or imbalance. Make sure there are no wires showing as well. Check for cuts, cracks, punctures, and bulges. Rotate tires on a regular basis, as recommended in your manual. Rotation helps maintain life, too.
Choose the Right Tire for Safety
To figure out which tires are safest for your vehicle, visit safercar.gov, a safety-rating resource created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some of the safest tires are the Cooper CS5 Grand Touring, and the CS5 Ultra Touring. The Ultra Touring received an A for traction and an A for temperature resistance. The Grand Touring received a highwater mark of 780, meaning it lasts nearly eight times longer than the normal tire to which it’s compared.
If winter conditions in your area have a chance of being nasty, it will help a great deal to invest in studdable snow tires for maximum safety. Additionally, makes sure your spare tire is in good shape. In case you do spring a flat, you don’t want to be stuck with a spare that has worn-out rubber.