Facts and safety tips for motorists regarding tires

With the inclement weather that Louisiana residents often have to drive in, having a set of dependable tires is a necessity. Worn, bald or damaged tires can lead to hydroplaning on wet or snowy roads because the tire's grooves are not at full potential to divert water or maintain traction. When hydroplaning occurs, the driver is no longer able to control the vehicle.

Apparently, many people are driving with poor tires. According to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 10 percent of nearly 11,000 vehicles tested were found with one or more bald tires, while nearly half were found with one or more tires that were half-way worn.

When a new set of tires are purchased, its tread measures 10/32 inches deep. When the grooves wear down to half that measurement, they should be replaced for optimal performance, and tires are considered bald when the treads reach 2/32 inches. Worn rubber means tires cannot grip the road's surfaces, putting the driver at risk. Moreover, the danger increases with speed and poor weather. Motorists should examine their tire's treads once a month to see if they are safe, and they should replace cracked, budging or uneven-wearing tires. In addition, motorists should drive extra-carefully in snowy or rainy weather and refrain from braking if hydroplaning occurs.

Whenever a car accident occurs because a motorist failed to maintain his or her vehicle's tires, that motorist may be deemed liable for damages suffered by other drivers who were involved. By filing a personal injury claim, an attorney could substantiate the plaintiff's allegations that the accused negligent driver put others at risk by driving a vehicle that had unsafe and unusable tires. Monetary awards in such cases may cover the plaintiff's accident-related losses, such as medical expenses, income losses and property damages.

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