Arizona’s Deadliest Road Hazard: Tire Blowouts
When you think of the biggest dangers on the road, you might first think of drunk drivers or those who are distracted by texting. But, in reality, one of the biggest dangers is something that can happen at any moment and that you cannot control: A tire blowout.
Sometimes, a tire might suddenly blow because it is in poor condition and the owner neglected changing it. Sometimes, a tire might blow because it is poorly made. The driver could not have done anything to predict or prevent the tire blowout and the potentially deadly accident that it caused.
Recent Arizona Accidents
Several highways run through Arizona. Drivers reach higher speeds on these roads, which increases the potential severity of an accident from a tire blowout. But even at low speeds, a tire blowout can cause an accident with serious and even deadly repercussions. When the tire pops, the car instantly loses its stability. It starts riding on the rim, and the driver loses control of the vehicle.
In July, according to Review Journal’s article “3-car fatal crash in northwest Arizona blamed on blown tire“, the driver of a Ford SUV lost control when a tire blew and crossed the highway into oncoming traffic, hitting two cars head on. One woman was killed instantly.
A New Mexico accident in May, according to KOB 4 News’ article “Deputies: Speed, blown tire also factors in fatal Hwy 550 crash” occurred when the tire on a work truck blew and the driver lost control. As in the July accident, the vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic, hitting another vehicle. The driver was also estimated to be going between 83 and 88 miles per hour. The crash killed the truck driver and a family with two children.
Each year in Arizona, fatal accidents are caused by tires blowing out. Sometimes, these accidents could have been prevented with the right maintenance. Sometimes, they are caused by faulty tires that were not properly vetted.
Understanding Tire Health and Aging
Fortunately, it is easy to understand when you need to change a tire to ensure safe driving. A faulty tire is always the exception, and there is no way to know for certain that a tire you are buying is going to catastrophically fail. The best you can do is evaluate the manufacturer.
The first thing you should look at is tread depth. Over time, various factors will cause the rubber on the tire to wear down, which will cause the tread depth to get shallower. Poor road conditions, aggressive driving practices, and poor alignment can all cause tread depth to wear down faster.
Tires should have a tread depth of 11/32 inch for the best stopping distance. Once the tread depth gets to 7/32 inch, you will need to start looking for a new tire. The tire should be replaced once the tread depth reaches 4/32 inch.
If tires are old, they may have a healthy tread depth but can still be compromised. The rubber can degrade with the passage of time. Oxygen penetrates the rubber and causes it to break down at the molecular level.
What that means is the rubber is not as strong as it once was. It loses its elasticity and becomes brittle. The pressure from the air inside and the car traveling on top of it can cause the tire to blow unexpectedly. Your tires should be replaced after six years, and you can check their age on the stamp on the sidewall of the tires.
Buying Safe Tires
Fortunately, you have many resources for helping you find the best tires for your vehicle. To start, check out Consumer Reports for a thorough guide on the different types of tires and how they impact performance. Consumer Reports then provides detailed information about all tires made by all tire manufacturers, including ratings for each of those tires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also provides its own tire ratings and maintenance tips.
Once you know what kind of tires are best, you can shop locally at a trusted tire or auto body shop. In the Valley Area in Arizona, some of the top places to buy tires include the East Valley Tire Outlet, Community Tire Pros and Auto Repair, Tire Masters, C&R Tire, and Amigos Tires. Each of these tire shops has earned high customer ratings and they have well-established reputations in the community for top service and quality products.
Getting the best tires and keeping them maintained will help keep you safe on the road by minimizing your risk of experiencing a tire blowout. If you are the unfortunate victim of an accident caused by another person’s tire blowout, you need the best collision repair to get your vehicle back in shape and to preserve its integrity. Excel Collision and Glass Centers is a top auto body repair shop in Mesa. Our experienced and highly skilled technicians can restore your vehicle after a crash so that it looks as good as new. But we do more than just perform auto body repair so that your vehicle looks great. Our collision repair services also focus on preserving the structural integrity of your vehicle so that you continue to be safe behind the wheel. Contact us in Mesa today to schedule an estimate for your collision repair.
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