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Poor Tire Maintenance Can Lead to Liability

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Posted on September 21, 2016

A blinking tire pressure light on the dashboard is more than just a nuisance; it is a sign of a serious maintenance issue that must be quickly addressed. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that under-inflated tires can triple the risk of a crash occurring. Moreover, failure by an owner to maintain adequate tire pressure can – in some states – be considered negligence, thereby exposing that owner or their insurer to liability in court.

The NHTSA reported that under and over-inflated tires might be responsible for as many as five percent of all car accidents. When a tire lacks sufficient pressure, it causes instability while driving due to the increased surface area of the tire as it impacts with the road. Some vehicles may over-steer while others will under-steer. Notably, many under-inflated tires appear to be at normal pressure upon visual inspection. Waiting until a tire appears to be under-inflated is a dangerous mistake.

At the other end of the spectrum, an over-inflated tire makes too little contact with the road. By over-inflating a tire by just six psi, owners run the risk of suffering a tire blow-out when driving over a pothole or other debris. Additionally, over-inflation leads to a rougher ride for a driver and their passengers.

To avoid either scenario, Cherry Hill car accident lawyers say that it is incumbent upon motorists to routinely monitor their tire pressure without waiting for a sensor to deploy or for a tire to become visibly under-inflated. Drivers should become familiar with the proper psi for their car type and use a quality air gauge to ensure that the pressure reading is correct. According to the NHTSA, which based its findings on data collected between 2005 and 2007, up to 55 percent of automobiles included in the study had under-inflated tires.