Print 23 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Jun 14 at 3:03 PM

Tire pressures play a big factor in accidents

A government study performed in the United States has found that 5% of vehicles involved in crashes experienced some sort of tire problem. The moral of the study is that underinflated tires are at significantly higher risk of causing an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- using data gathered between 2005 and 2007 -- conducted the study.
According to the study, vehicles with tires underinflated by 25% or more were three times as likely to be involved in the crash linked to tire problems. The study also found that 66% of tire related crashes involve passenger cars.
"Tire problems are inherently hazardous to vehicle safety," the NHTSA report said. "When these problems emerge in the pre-crash phase, the time window for attempting a crash avoidance maneuver is normally very small."
Another discovery made in the study includes that poorly maintained tires are tires that are underinflated are also more likely to experience problems in bad weather.
Of the sample vehicles that the study looked at it was determined that 11.2% had problems linked to tires in bad weather compared to 3.9% when weather was not a factor. Senior vice president for public affairs cites the new tire study for the Rubber Manufacturers Association, Dan Zielinski, as a clear indication that proper tire maintenance and inflation are critical for driver safety.
Tire pressure monitoring systems are installed in all 2008 model year and newer vehicles due to a U.S. government mandate. The tire pressure monitoring system alerts drivers when any tire is 25% or more below the recommended inflation level.

Source: Detroit News

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Observation tells me
By chmilz on 5/15/2012 1:43:14 PM , Rating: 5
People with under-inflated tires are usually at the bottom of the gene pool anyway. Too stupid to notice and/or fill up their tires, and too stupid to be driving.

RE: Observation tells me
By FITCamaro on 5/16/2012 5:41:44 PM , Rating: 5

The worst drivers are usually also the worst at caring for their vehicles.

RE: Observation tells me
By GotThumbs on 5/21/2012 11:37:17 AM , Rating: 5

This is one reason I'd like to see national vehicle inspections resume. The number of junkers on the road is increasing and I know these vehicles are huge safety hazards. If there was a way to guarantee that only the owner would die...then I'd have no problems with it...but I don't like trusting my life to those POS bottom dwellers.

More stupid people on the road these days...because the US laws are NOT stickily enforced. I've seen several news stories of non-licensed drivers getting into their car after court and driving away. Forget about insurance coverage on those either. US Society is in a downward spiral.... Unfortunately.

RE: Observation tells me
By inperfectdarkness on 6/1/2012 4:17:49 AM , Rating: 1
negative. while i like the idea of having vehicle inspections, it becomes impossible to do so without indulging crap like emissions inspections & other bunk. have you ever tried to own a modified vehicle in the state of california? good luck with that.

i like my freedom, thank you very much. i don't need some bigshot telling me that my car is illegal because it has 2x the stock horsepower, has wider tires, and free-flowing exhaust.

RE: Observation tells me
By WalksTheWalk on 6/5/2012 4:26:42 PM , Rating: 1
Vehicle inspections are a complete waste of tax dollars.

The State of Minnesota used to do emissions inspections and required that your vehicle pass inspections each year before it could be licensed. They ultimately found that most vehicles passed emissions inspections and quietly shut down the program.

You can't fix or legislate against stupid. You just try your best to avoid it.

RE: Observation tells me
By TheEinstein on 5/19/12, Rating: -1
RE: Observation tells me
By Azethoth on 5/22/12, Rating: 0
RE: Observation tells me
By mindless1 on 5/23/2012 8:08:40 PM , Rating: 3
There are lots of things wrong with the stats as mentioned.

1) 5% of vehicles involved in crashes experiencing tire problems does not equate to tire problems being the CAUSE of 5% of crashes. Tires can easily be damaged during the crash or the attempt to avoid crashing and hitting a curb, etc. "Couldn't stop in time or couldn't swerve around" is not proven to be a fault merely because tires are underinflated, any car, tire, pressure, and road surface has its limits.

2) If only 5% of vehicles experienced tire problems, and tires underinflated by 25% or more were three times as likely to crash, that is not a proof that underinflated tires are three times more likely to crash, it only means underinflated tires are 3 times more likely to crash due to tire problems (within the 5%), which you pointed out and I agree with.

So the article title is wrong, vehicles with underinflated tires aren't even remotely close to being three times more likely to be in an accident, only more likely to be in the 5% of accidents that were tires-as-initial-failure, caused... "IF" that 5% figure is right which I doubt.

I'll make up a number and throw it out there. 98% of crashes are caused by driver inattention or excessive speed for the conditions. If one of the conditions was driver inattention to tire pressure OR driving too fast for the inflation level of your tires, well yeah there's no oversimplified answer like keep your tires inflated more, it's still the driver not the equipment.

car vs tire manufacturers
By talikarni on 5/19/2012 1:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
Considering less than 5% of people replace the factory tires with same brand and model, each non-factory tire has its own recommended pressure.
Like for my mid-2000s Durango, even the OEM factory Goodyear GSA tires had different recommended pressures than the models sold at tire shops, even though it is the same brand and model of tire on the same vehicle (32psi OEM, 36psi non-OEM).

Then add in other brands, non-standard sizes and some people still go by what it says in the drivers door sticker, not the tire manufacturers recommended pressure. So they may think they are fine at 32 psi, but the manufacturer may recommend 38-40.

I currently have Nexen Roadian HT in size 265/70-17 which is recommended to keep around 38 psi, not Dodge's 32 psi. At 32, these tires are soft, squishy and vehicle control suffers.
So if we really want to make sure tires are properly inflated, we need to make sure both the tire shops, and the public is educated and to go by the recommended pressure for the tires, not the vehicle. What we do NOT need is more government intervention fining people for having overinflated or under-inflated tires, since they will most likely go by OEM ratings, not the tire manufacturer ratings.

RE: car vs tire manufacturers
By gcor on 5/20/2012 8:45:28 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I found out it's more complicated than that, as % of load rating needs to be factored in.

As we were going to be spending a lot of time off road on poorly maintained tracks, I picked up some light truck all-terrain tires with 10-ply rated side walls.

When I looked for the recommended pressures for the new tires, it was explained to me that if a tire is carrying less than the load rating, then the recommended pressure needs to be suitably adjusted. The rule-of-thumb formula I was told was;

min-psi + ((max-pis - min-psi) x % of load rating).

eg. 40 + ((80 - 40) * .6 ) = 64

This means you need to know how much each wheel is carrying, which changes on front and back axles. For me, this meant a trip to a weigh bridge as the car was heavy modified, plus we often had the ball weight of a camper trailer to add.

RE: car vs tire manufacturers
By mmatis on 5/22/2012 8:26:40 AM , Rating: 1
The car manufacturers call out inflation pressure based on THEIR priorities. Remember the Ford SUV rollover problem a few years back with the Firestone tires? Ford called out a low inflation pressure for the tires to make the ride seem less harsh. And then, of course, many in the motoring public never even bothered to keep their tires at THAT pressure. Greatly increased sidewall flex caused tire failures, resulting in rollovers. And Firestone got the blame.

If you really want to do this right, you need to look at not only the load you run with compared to the rated load for the tire (which is based on the max inflation pressure) but also the rim width you are using compared to the recommended width by the tire manufacturer for that model and size tire. Those of you calling for increased tire pressure will pay for it in early tire replacement, as overinflating the tire for the load carried and the rim width will result in your tires wearing out in the middle of the tread early. By the same token, underinflation for the load and rim width will cause early wear on the outside edges of the tread. A tread depth gauge is a worthwhile investment.

And one further note of interest. Where water depth on the road is greater than tread depth, full hydroplaning can occur at speeds roughly equal to 9 times the square root of the tire pressure. That means 35 psi tires may fully hydroplane at under 55 mph, while 81 psi load range
E tires won't hydroplane until over 80 mph if fully inflated. Of course, the dry road performance, as well as the ride, of those 35 psi tires is FAR better, but...

RE: car vs tire manufacturers
By mindless1 on 5/23/2012 7:54:13 PM , Rating: 2
THANK YOU! I was laughing quite a bit about all the posts on this topic by people who feel superior about knowing how to decide the right tire inflation level when they did not know themselves.

RE: car vs tire manufacturers
By hangfirew8 on 6/11/2012 2:20:32 PM , Rating: 2
Ford called out a low inflation pressure for the tires to make the ride seem less harsh. And then, of course, many in the motoring public never even bothered to keep their tires at THAT pressure. Greatly increased sidewall flex caused tire failures, resulting in rollovers. And Firestone got the blame.

Wrong. There was a lot more to the Firestone/Explorer problems than recommended tire pressure. Firestone made defective tires prone to tread separation- Goodyears running at the same pressures on the same vehicles had no such problem. Ford made a poorly balanced vehicle. Together they created a serious liability problem for the manufacturers.

Firestone was found to have a long history of labor and quality problems in their Decatur plant, and Ford in Venezuela was already recalling the Explorer for refits to deal with the rollover problems. Both companies knew about the problems and tried to silence everyone hurt with settlement agreements. Finally someone refused a settlement offer, went to the media and blew the lid off the case.

Both statistically and through experimentation, it was found that all other SUV's in the road were more tolerant of blowouts and less likely to roll over than the early Ford Explorers.

RE: car vs tire manufacturers
By mindless1 on 6/14/2012 3:03:32 PM , Rating: 2
It's sort of irrelevant. Semis are more prone to rollover and lose tire treads all the time. The problem was mostly that drivers were migrating to SUVs from cars and did not adjust their driving style to factor for a more top heavy SUV.

Yes Ford could be blamed a bit for not making the top as light as possible in the interest of safety but no matter what vehicle you drive you still have to operate it within its capabilities.

RE: car vs tire manufacturers
By talikarni on 5/28/2012 6:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
one problem with that: that only applies to commercial vehicle tires, so that may be true for semi or trailer tires, for most passenger vehicles it will cause under or over inflation.

So based on your calculation, which there is a problem because there is no shown minimum inflation on most tires.

So using mine as example:
Max 44 psi at 2535 lbs., vehicle curb weight of approx 5000 lbs., max load rating of 10140.
We will assume minimum 30 psi.

30 + ((44-30) x .49) = 36.86 psi which is still a shade over 1 psi low instead of recommended 38 psi for these tires (not with trailer load).

When it comes to bias ply tires such as trailer or many semi tires, the ratings are REQUIRED pressure, not "max" or "load" pressure. So if they say 50psi, then fill them to +/- 5% of required pressure. Just make sure the tire load ratings are 10-20% below full load (curb weight).

By Gunbuster on 5/16/2012 5:02:32 PM , Rating: 2
This story is dedicated to banned AT forums poster fleabag. Inflating to sidewall and beyond!

RE: Fleabag
By FITCamaro on 5/16/2012 5:43:53 PM , Rating: 2
If you mean inflating the tires to the tire listed sidewall maximum, there are a lot of hypermilers who do this.

On the Cruze forum I'm on there's a guy who does it and shows that it results in lower tire wear as well as better mileage at lower speeds(where friction is more of a factor). Now going beyond the manufacturers listed maximum is obviously unwise.

RE: Fleabag
By Samus on 5/17/2012 9:48:55 AM , Rating: 2
Fit is exactly right. I normally run my tires around 38psi in my truck, not substantially higher than the 32psi Ford recommends, but enough to give noticible gains in fuel economy and reduce wear. Since they can be inflated to 44psi I believe, I'm well within limits.

I've noticed many gas stations and random 'fill up spots' along the interstate around here have their machines regulators set around 40psi. I figured this out one day years ago in my Focus when trying to inflate a spare donut, which is suppose to be minimum 50psi, which I couldn't get to. This is obviously idiot-proof liability protection for the station owners, but also protects the idiot who still thinks they can 'feel' how much air is in their radial tires by kicking the sidewall...

RE: Fleabag
By Kurz on 5/17/2012 10:24:04 AM , Rating: 2
I currently run my Tires at 50 Front, 45 Back Tires.
For stability in turns (Back tires have little to no load and they tend to skip when front and back are the same Pressure).

Tires look great for having 60k on them, Probably be able to get another 20 or so.

RE: Fleabag
By Spuke on 5/18/2012 10:13:07 AM , Rating: 2
I run a little more myself but for different reasons. I get a bit more turn in crispness with higher pressures and a bit less sidewall flex (although there's not much of that with my present tires). I have not noticed any difference in wear or fuel economy.

Studies like this can be dangerous...
By MrBlastman on 5/15/2012 4:08:03 PM , Rating: 2
Or at least, articles like this as some fool will read it and say, "Hey, Eff ah underinflatulate mah tyres, I'll crash so eh, bettar overinflate to compensate!"

Overinflated tires can be just as dangerous depending on which ones and how much. Try overinflating your rear tires for some fun times! It really helps the back end slide out, especially at high speeds.

Most people don't comprehend how much of a role tire pressure can play in your car's handling. You can totally tweak out your performance (within limits) just by adding or removing a little air.

By Flunk on 5/16/2012 7:59:53 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure that's how it works. Most people who are that stupid don't read. So I can't see how this will be an issue, at least until the muppets at the "eyewitness" news get ahold of it and only read the first 3 lines.

P.S. You can always tell if local news is reliable, there are a few clues. If their name includes the word "eyewitness" or their ads claim they are the best news team in the entire country then they're terrible.

By johnsmith9875 on 5/31/2012 10:07:14 AM , Rating: 2
And to think republicans criticized Obama for suggesting we keep our tyres inflated. Not only does it save gasoline it is safer.

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