Tip of the Week

You speak to your kids daily about the risks of texting and driving. When was the last time you sat them down and talked tires?

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more people are killed in motor-vehicle-related accidents due to faulty tires than by distracted driving involving cell phones. We know that is shocking, but NHTSA says that over 700 people die per year in crashes due to failed tires. In the past six years for which NHTSA has released data, cellphone-related deaths have not exceeded 500 in any year.

From a few yards away all tires look the same. So it’s easy to assume they are just fine, and in decent condition. Out of sight, means out of mind.

Seeing a person in a car nearby with their head down texting is disturbing to us. We see it all the time. It appears very dangerous, and it is. However, around us in traffic, there are other more serious threats. And they are not hard to spot if you know where to look. Down. The next time you are walking in a parking lot, take a moment to scan the rubber your fellow citizens are driving on. It will horrify you. Get in the habit of glancing at the tires on the car parked next to you at the mall or on next to you at a traffic light and you see shocking problems daily. Finding exposed cords on bald tires isn’t hard.

With potholes as deep as tiny houses now springing forth mid-winter, sidewall damage is common. The image above is from a rough-and-ready sport utility vehicle. The tires are always the weakest link off-road or on your local back road. And remember, we can only see the bubbles and other damage on the sidewall that faces out. Half of this type of damage can’t be seen.

Then there are the folks with nails sticking out of their tires. And not just little nails. We’re still not sure of the physics that allows four-inch ring-shank nails to end up in a tire, but they do.

There’s not much you can do about the folks in cars near you texting. Nor will you have much luck getting them to keep their tires in a safe condition. But you can practice good habits in your own vehicle. And you can pass those habits along to your kids.

We don’t mean to make light of the seriousness of distracted driving, but the government works closely with the media to highlight the deaths that result from these types of crashes. What we don’t hear about in our daily news feed is that there are other threats that are much more common, and just as preventable.

— John Goreham/BestRide.com

Auto news
New research from AAA reveals that when the mercury dips to 20°F and the HVAC system is used to heat the inside of the vehicle, the average driving range is decreased by 41 percent. This means for every 100 miles of combined urban/highway driving, the range at 20°F would be reduced to 59 miles.
Cold weather, however, is not the only factor that can influence driving range. AAA’s research also found that when outside temperatures heat up to 95°F and air-conditioning is used inside the vehicle, driving range decreases by 17 percent.

Did you know
February is Aggressive Driving Awareness Month and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the following tips drivers can use to prevent accidents when dealing with aggressive drivers:
Make every attempt to get out of the way
Avoid eye contact with them
Ignore and don’t return gestures
Do not challenge them by speeding up
Report aggressive drivers to authorities by providing a vehicle description, license number, location and direction of travel.

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