When it comes to teen driving safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study in April of 2012 to show the truth behind teens and tire-related accidents. The study found that 12% of vehicles involved in accidents with inexperienced drivers involved tire-related issues. Conversely, only 5% of vehicles in accidents with experienced drivers were tire related. This statistic alone tells a very clear story about a preventable problem. Teen driving safety regarding tire knowledge is endlessly important in keeping everyone safer on the road.
Not all states require tire safety information to be taught in driver’s education courses. Michelin is part of an initiative to get all 50 states to include comprehensive tire safety courses in driver’s education by 2020. They recently reported that less than 50% of teens and their parents feel that driver’s education properly prepares teens for the road. Here’s what you and your teen need to know about tires:
Check Your Tread Depth
It’s as simple as this: the deeper the tread, the safer you are when driving in any weather condition. Modern tire technology has drastically improved your vehicle’s maneuverability, handling, acceleration, and stopping power. All tires wear down over time, so it’s up to you to continue to check and make sure you’re riding on tires with enough tread to help grip the dry road, evacuate water to reduce hydroplaning, and keep good traction in snow and ice. If your tire tread is down to 4/32″, it’s time to consider planning for a new set of tires. If you don’t know how to measure yourself, take advantage of your dealership’s complimentary tire inspection!
Check Your Tire Pressure Once a Month
Tire pressure is much more important than you may think. Properly inflated tires don’t just help you stay safe, they also can save you money at the gas pump by getting you better gas mileage. Underinflation can also lead to premature or irregular wear and tire failure. Additionally, overinflation can do the same thing. The NHTSA states that vehicles with tires underinflated over 25% are three times more likely to be involved in a tire-related crash. Find your car’s recommended tire pressure marked clearly on your driver’s side door jamb or in your owner’s manual. Keeping your tires properly inflated can save your money, AND save your life.
Other Important Things to Consider
Speeding – It’s no surprise that teens can sometimes think they’re invincible. So oftentimes, teenagers tend to drive more aggressively with rapid or frequent lane changes, weaving, or stopping and starting suddenly. These acts accelerate tire wear and can lead to tire failure. Underinflated or overinflated tires with low tread depth will affect vehicle control; and with an aggressive approach on the roads, that’s just a recipe for a wreck, especially in bad weather.
Tire age – There’s a lot to remember about your tires and tire age is one of them. You can find out the exact month and year that your tires were made just by looking at the DOT number stamped on the side. But make certain to look at all four tires because they may not have arrived in the same shipment. Tires might look perfect on the outside, but they deteriorate from the inside out. All tires have different life expectancies so pay attention to individual tire manufacturer recommendations. Typically, any tire that is six years old or more can present a safety risk.
So now that you know more about tires, is your teen ready for the road?