Zachary D. Campbell
Most drivers forget that they play an important role in protecting their
own safety and automotive investment. Often times, drivers only check
their tires during annual inspections or after something unfortunate occurs.
Checking your tires on a regular basis is an important safety precaution.
Ideally, tire inspections should be performed monthly. Continue reading
to learn how to perform the penny test which can help you save up to $0.11
According to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), National
Tire Safety Week, which was originally scheduled for May 18-24, 2020,
is used to “to educate motorists about tire care, safety and maintenance,
including the potential dangers of unsafe used tires.” Due to the
impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, USTMA postponed its 2020 National Tire
Safety Week. A new date will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.
“As we cope as a nation with the COVID-19 health emergency and economic
crisis, USTMA felt it was in the best interest of our members and industry
partners to reschedule so they can continue to focus on the safety and
well-being of their employees, business operations and the communities
in which they operate,” says Anne Forristall Luke, president and
CEO of USTMA.
“In the interim, USTMA will focus its efforts on educating the public,
especially those who may not be driving frequently, on how to ensure proper
maintenance and care for their tires, so that when they do need their
vehicles, they can do so confidently and safely.”
As a car owner, you play a critical role in preventable accidents, like
hydroplaning. Experts recommend regular vehicle maintenance and tire inspections
to avoid hydroplaning.
The risk of hydroplaning increases during heavy rains that tend to occur
in the spring and summer months. When rain mixes with oil residue on the
road surface, it creates slippery conditions that can cause vehicles,
especially those traveling speeds in excess of 35 mph, to hydroplane.
What is hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning often occurs when your tires do not have enough traction on
a wet road causing your vehicle to lose control. When you hydroplane,
your vehicle’s tires do not adequately push the water off the surface
of the roadway. The vehicle then rises to the top of the water between
your tires and the road. Because of this, you have no traction on the
roadway and limited control of the vehicle. This can be exacerbated if
your tires are not properly maintained.
What to do if you hydroplane
Panic and slam on the brakes?
WRONG! Sudden actions such as braking or turning abruptly can only make matters
worse. The best course of action is to slowly take your foot off of the
gas pedal while firmly gripping the steering wheel. Once you have a grip
on the steering wheel, turn the steering wheel in the same direction that
your car is sliding or skidding. By doing so, your tires can realign with
your direction of travel. Hydroplaning can often be corrected as quickly
as it started. When your tires regain traction with the roadway, maintain
your speed and the direction of travel. To prevent hydroplaning reduce
your speed while traveling on wet roads until the weather and road conditions improve.
What is the penny test?
Check your tires regularly for wear and tear, this can also prevent hydroplaning.
Driving on tires with worn-down tread is dangerous. The National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that your tire’s tread depth is more than 1/16th of an inch to be safe. Any measurement at or below 1/16th of an inch is considered unsafe because the tires can no longer effectively
navigate wet, slushy, or snowy roads.
There are several popular ways to check your tire tread depth. One easy
way is with the penny test. Simply insert a penny into your tire's
tread groove with Lincoln's head upside down and facing you. If you
can see all of Lincoln's head, your tread depth is less than 1/16th of an inch and it's time to replace your tires.
How can you save $0.11 per gallon of gas?
Maintaining your car is a simple and effective way to increase mpg and
help prevent hydroplaning. According to the NHTSA, properly inflated and
aligned tires = 3% better gas mileage = $0.11 savings per gallon.
It is recommended to check your tire air pressure once per month and your
tire’s rubber breakdown annually. Direct sunlight can heat the rubber
and cause premature deterioration. The UV rays penetrate the rubber, dry
it out, and eventually breakdown the rubber compounds. The best way to
keep tires from dry rotting is to limit sun exposure whenever possible.
NHTSA recommends rotating your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles or sooner
if uneven wear appears.
We can never eliminate the hazards of rainy weather driving or the risk
of hydroplaning, but the dangers can be minimized by observing recommended
If you are injured in a truck, automobile, or motorcycle accident, the
Metzger Wickersham legal team is available to discuss your case. We can
answer your questions and provide legal advice during a no-cost case evaluation.
To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys, complete our
contact form or
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