When the snow starts falling and ice coats every surface, drivers will be thankful for tires
that have a firm grip on the road. Unfortunately, staying strong on pavement is not a foregone conclusion. Motorists may be dealing with old, worn-out tires incapable of performing at a high level - and that leaves the safety of drivers and passengers up in the air.
Tires are essential for safety
The Rubber Manufacturer's Association recently underscored the importance of safe tires. According to the organization, about 12 percent of Americans who travel for the holidays do so on bald tires
. That leaves them at risk for a number of dangerous situations, including losing grip on the road, blowing out tires and decreasing the car's fuel economy.
"Bald tires are dangerous," said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs. "A tire is considered bald when tread depth reaches 2/32nds inch. Bald tires have longer stopping distances and do not grip the road properly, particularly in wet weather conditions. Fortunately, there's a simple method to determine whether tire tread depth is safe: all you need is a penny."
What you can do
One of the most important things drivers can do is continuously monitor their tires for signs of wear and tear. It's essential for drivers to check tire pressure and tread at least once a month. Extreme winter conditions can wreak havoc on wheels, causing punctures or underinflation. Both of these problems can lead to danger, but by remaining vigilant with vehicle maintenance
, drivers can stop these issues before they pose a threat. Schedule times to check the tire gauge to see if it matches the owner's manual recommendation, and conduct the penny test on the tread as needed.
The RMA suggested that drivers pay attention to some often overlooked areas. For instance, any and all spare tires should be examined for the same issues. Drivers should also take care not to overload a vehicle, whether it's with passengers or holiday decorations. Adding weight stresses the tires and could lead to damage, so it's important for motorists to keep this in mind as they make plans for the holiday season. Investing in a tire rotation
and alignment is a good way to ensure the wheels are in good winter form and can handle any tough drives.