Winter Season Tire Safety: Reducing Auto Collisions

With the cold weather upon us, now is a good time for motorists to inspect their vehicles and ensure preparedness for the winter season, particular with regard to tires. The Chicago Automobile Collision Attorneys, of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C., discuss some Tire Safety Tips in hopes of promoting awareness, improving safety, as well as reducing injuries and fatalities associated with car accidents, for the residents of Chicagoland and surrounding communities.

Tire-related issues commonly cause or contribute to car wrecks during the winter season. However, through fully understanding tire safety in cold weather, and taking the proper precautions, many of these auto accidents can be prevented. In example, drivers should know the safety implications associated with the particular type of tire that their vehicle is equipped with, as well as the benefits of upgrading to a tire that is specifically designed for winter weather.

A common misconception shared by many motorists relates to the protection offered by all-season tires, which, despite their name, are not the same as winter tires. The problem with typical all-season tires is that when the temperature falls below 45-degrees, the tread compound gradually hardens, resulting in decreased traction. All-season tires are also more prone to collecting debris. Winter tires, on the other hand can increase traction by as much as 50 percent, and have a special tread design that more effectively expel snow and ice.

Further, when replacing tires, drivers should make sure that all four tires of the same size, speed rating, load index, and construction. Mixing radial and non-radial tires is not recommended for most typical passenger cars, particularly in inclement weather conditions. However, if tire mixing is unavoidable, then the general rule for most standard passenger vehicles is that the two radial tires should be installed in the rear-axle, with two non-radials on the front axle.

Regardless of which type of tire your vehicle is equipped with, it is important to consider the manners in which both tire pressure and tire treads can play a role in motorist safety. While tire pressure increases in warm weather, it typically decreases in cold weather. In fact, studies have shown that tire pressure can decrease by as much as 2 PSI for every 10 degree reduction in outdoor temperature. Motorists are encouraged to continuously monitor their tire pressure, to ensure proper inflation, particularly during winter months.

Tire tread is an equally important consideration during winter months. Given the expenses associated with tire replacement, motorist often attempt to stretch the life of their tires. However, doing so during the winter season, can have grave consequences to motorist traveling upon snow or ice covered roadways. There are several ways to check tire tread depth, including ‘coin tests,’ as well as checking the ‘treadwear indicator bars’ that are molded into your tires.

Common coin tests are the penny and quarter tests, which involves inserting a coin upside down in the tire’s groove tread, with the coin’s face side facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head using a penny, the tread on your tires is worn, and if the tread partially covers Washington’s head using a quarter, your tire tread is likely good. Coin tests should be performed along multiple tread grooves across the tire. Tread depth can also be assessed by locating the tread indicator bars in the tread grooves-when the bars are flush with adjacent ribs, the tire should be replaced.

As a final note, while proper vehicle maintenance is certainly critical to preventing accidents, the unfortunate truth is that some collisions occur even where a motorist has fully adhered to all tire safety tip guidelines and recommendations, such as those involving faulty or defective tires. Consequently, it is vital for accidents to ensure that a full and proper investigation is undertaken immediately following a crash, to determine all potential causes.

If you sustained injury, or a loved one was killed, as a result of a motor vehicle accident, contact the Chicago Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. at 773-516-4100, to discuss your rights to financial compensation during a FREE, comprehensive, and no-obligation consultation.