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Tire age: Your safety may be riding on it

When you travel the busy roadways of Mississippi, you no doubt keep your eyes open for any signs of potential danger in your surrounding area. If you notice another driver making erratic lane changes on the highway, you likely try to keep as safe a distance as possible from that particular vehicle. Your safety alert may also kick into full gear if you pass a highly congested construction site along the road. Driving dangers often lurk in such areas.

You obviously can't know every potential risk that exists each time you get behind the wheel because some hazards occur suddenly and unexpectedly, while others may not even be immediately apparent. For instance, do you know the age of the tires on every car you'll cross paths with the next time you drive somewhere? Of course you don't; however, tire age happens to greatly impact safety and if a nearby vehicle has tires past the recommended age for safety, your uneventful trip to a convenience store can turn into disaster.

Tires older than six years may not be safe

Vehicle maintenance in general is something that's important to most good drivers. When you first got your driver's license or taught a son or daughter to drive, you probably focused some of your driving education on the importance of conducting regular safety checks on your car. The following list provides information regarding tires in particular and what studies show regarding the connection between tire age and vehicle safety:

  • Evidence suggests older tires are at greater risk for failure than newer ones.
  • A significant factor in tire age has to do with the way tires are made. Rubber tires begin to break down when exposed to sunlight, heat and other external conditions.
  • Tread-separation often occurs when tire rubber begins to break down; this is a major safety risk.
  • If the tires on your car are more than six years old, you may want to research tire safety further as most studies recommend new tires beyond this age.
  • If your tires (or the tires of a vehicle near you) fail at highway speeds, the results may be catastrophic.
  • Have you ever noticed how an old rubber-band dries out and cracks with age? A similar process occurs with rubber tires.
  • Many studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (as well as studies written for the organization) support findings that vehicle owners should replace tires that are beyond six years in age.

Have you ever looked on the side rubber of your tires to check their age? If you read that question and the thought crossed your mind that you didn't even know tire age was labeled on your tires, you are definitely not the only one to do so. In fact, studies also show that a mere 4 percent of consumers are aware that as tire age increases, tire safety decreases. If a nearby vehicle's tires blow or a driver loses control, you may bear the brunt of such safety risks if you suffer injuries in a collision.

You obviously have control over your own vehicle regarding tire safety but there's not much you can do about another person's car. You can, however, do something if another driver's negligence leads to your injury. Many Mississippi motorists in similar situations go on to seek recovery for losses by filing personal injury claims in civil court.

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