Tire treads are specifically designed grooves on a vehicle’s tire. These grooves, or channels, provide the traction needed to grip the road in inclement weather, such as snow, ice, and rain. Without this traction, vehicles can be difficult to control on slick, wet, and icy roads. That’s why the New York car accident attorneys of Finz & Finz, P.C. want to increase awareness that driving on tires without adequate tread – commonly referred to as bald tires – is extremely dangerous, especially in bad weather.

Tire treads function by whisking water away from the tire, allowing the tire to maintain a grip on the road. Treads also ensure that the vehicle travels in the direction in which it is steered. Bald tires cannot force water away, making it hard to control and steer the vehicle.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that approximately 10% of vehicles operating on the road have at least one bald tire. This means there are millions of unsafe vehicles operating throughout the country. Driving on bald tires can lead to accidents that cause serious injuries and even death. That’s why it’s critical to check and maintain your tires. The cost of replacing and maintaining tires is slight compared to the expenses you could incur from an accident caused by insufficient tire tread.

Low tire tread can compromise your safety in a range of ways, such as:

  • Hydroplaning. If water gets in between the tires and the road, the car might start to slide uncontrollably. Hydroplaning can result in a significant loss of steering and braking function. Tires with low tread have grooves that are too shallow, making them less efficient at forcing water away and gripping the road in wet conditions.
  • Excessive heat buildup. Heat is caused by the friction between tires and the road. Excessive heat can cause a tire blowout, which can lead to you losing control of the vehicle. Once the surface temperature of the tire reaches its limit, the tire becomes dangerous. Good treads cool the tire by enabling airflow between the grooves. Because bald tires don’t have grooves, the heat can increase to unsafe levels.
  • Blowouts. Good treads lessen the chances of experiencing a tire blowout while driving. Tire blowouts are extremely dangerous and may even be fatal, especially when traveling at high speeds. While good treads cannot prevent all punctures, they have a far greater chance of resisting blowouts than tires without treads.
  • Difficulty stopping: Bald tires can compromise your vehicle’s ability to brake effectively.
  • Maintenance issues: Uneven wheel alignment and balance due to worn-out tires can eventually cause costly maintenance to your vehicle.
  • Low air pressure. Tires with low treads lose air quicker than those with good treads. When worn-out tires become under-inflated, they cannot grip the road, making it hard to steer and maneuver.
  • Risk of puncture. Good treads lessen the chance the tire will puncture. Low tread tires are thinner, making them more susceptible to being punctured by sharp items like nails.

How to Help Prevent Tire-Related Accidents

Taking the following steps can help prevent accidents related to tires:

  • Check the tire pressure. Don’t ignore checking and adjusting your tire pressure. Make sure all your tires are at the right pressure at all times. Low tire pressure significantly boosts your chance of a blowout and makes it more difficult for you to turn and brake.
  • Check for tire tread wear marks. It is important to be aware of how to check your tires for wear and tear. Utires provides useful guides for gauging tread depth and identifying signs of wear.
  • Rotate your tires. You need to rotate your tires every six months or 6,000-8,000 miles. When you do this, you can even out the wear and tear, increasing the tire’s life and ensuring that you, your passengers, and others on the road are safe.
  • Replace your tires. It’s wise to take a close look at your tires after approximately five years. Inspect the tread depth. If it goes below 2/32 of an inch, you need to replace it.

Causes of Tire Blowouts

In addition to worn tire treads, there are many reasons why tire blowouts occur, including:

  • Under-inflation
  • Over-inflation
  • Defectively manufactured tires
  • Hot temperatures
  • Increased driving times
  • Poorly maintained roads
  • Potholes
  • Slow Leaks
  • Faster driving on freeways
  • Heavier vehicles loaded with cargo

Who Is At Fault For a Blowout Accident?

Drivers are responsible for maintaining their vehicles. However, there could be other parties at fault for a blowout accident, including:

  • Driver: In the majority of cases, a tire blowout is due to worn-out or bad tires. When motorists fail to regularly inspect and maintain their tires, they are generally liable for any accident caused.
  • Tire manufacturer, shop, or retailer: In recent years, thousands of tires have been recalled due to potential sidewall failure and other defects. Often, drivers continue to drive on tires that were recalled. Keep in mind that just because a manufacturer issued a recall, it does not mean they cannot still be held liable in a product liability claim. In addition, tire shops may be liable if they repaired a flat tire inadequately or sold a used tire as new. A retailer can be liable for stocking and selling a tire that is over a certain number of years old.
  • Municipalities: Poorly maintained or badly damaged roads can cause tire blowouts. State and local governments have a duty to maintain the roads and make sure they are in a condition that’s deemed to be safe for drivers. Municipalities must also warn of potential hazards, such as road construction. If a municipality is aware that a road is in a poor or dangerous condition and fails to address the issue, they may be held liable for any accidents and injuries that result.

Determining which party or parties are liable for a blowout can be complicated. If you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by a tire blowout or other issue involving low tire tread, contact an experienced car accident lawyer to review your case. A skilled lawyer can investigate the crash, determine what caused it, and identify the liable parties. Once this has been established, they can help you pursue the compensation you’re owed.

About Finz & Finz, P.C.

The New York personal injury attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. have over 35 years of experience representing people injured in car, truck, bus and motorcycle accidents. We have offices in Long Island and Manhattan. Call Finz & Finz, P.C. at 855-TOP-FIRM now for a free, no-obligation consultation.