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How does tire maintenance affect the chance of a car accident?

Unless the low-pressure light on your dashboard comes on, you might not think about your tires very often. Maybe they cross your mind if you hit a pothole or stop too quickly. But once you see that none of your tires are flat, you might just breathe a sigh of relief and keep driving.

Even if your tires appear to be fine, they may be at risk for deflating or blowing out. You can reduce the risk of accidents by knowing what to look for and when to fix a damaged tire.

Tire blowouts can cause serious injuries

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that tire-related factors are the cause of about 19,000 injuries and over 700 deaths every year. These accidents occur despite federal regulations requiring newer cars to show when tire pressure is low.

You can prevent blowouts with regular maintenance

You don’t have to be a mechanic to know when your tires need some work. You can check for and prevent common issues on your own by:

  • Investing in a tire gauge so that you can check your air pressure often
  • Maneuvering around potholes and other road hazards as much as you can
  • Replacing your tires when your owner’s manual says to
  • Monitoring your air pressure in extreme heat and cold—summer brings more blowouts
  • Following the recommended weight and speed limits for your tires
  • Checking on your car door to see what the right air pressure levels are—both over- and under-inflation are dangerous

If one or more of your tires keeps losing pressure quickly after you re-inflate it, you should go to a professional who can look for punctures. But what should you do if a complete blowout happens while you are on the road?

How to react if your tire blows out

A flat tire may be sudden and scary—but you shouldn’t panic. Keep calm and do the following:

  • Move onto the shoulder to avoid other cars
  • If your car pulls towards one direction, steer to keep it moving straight
  • Take your foot off the gas and slow down naturally—slamming on the brakes can cause you to lose traction

After you come to a stop, you can turn the car off and look into changing your tire or calling roadside assistance.

Even though your tires look fine and aren’t flat, they could have an issue that you can’t see. Check on their condition often so that you won’t have to deal with a blowout while you are driving.

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