It’s Rubber Manufacturers Association's (RMA) National Tire Safety Week (May 29 - June 4), and Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone) is helping drivers prepare their tires for the busy summer driving season. The company's consumer, commercial and retail businesses are providing ongoing education and services to engage summer travelers, commercial truckers and daily drivers around the importance of proper tire care and maintenance.
"At Bridgestone Americas, we're committed to being a good corporate citizen, and raising awareness for the importance of tire safety is one key way we can help improve the lives of those we serve with our products," said Gordon Knapp, chief operating officer. "This is an ongoing educational effort that our teammates continually support, not only during National Tire Safety Week or the busy summer travel season, but each and every day."
According to a recent consumer survey commissioned by Bridgestone, tires often are overlooked by Americans as a safety feature, despite the fact that they are the only part of a vehicle touching the road. The April 2016 survey, conducted online among 2,109 U.S. adults by Harris Poll, found that 41% of Americans rank tires as one of the three most important safety features of a vehicle. Drivers also are not checking their tires for road-readiness as carefully as they should be. While 58% of drivers have checked their tire pressure in the past three months, far fewer (38%) have checked their tread depth in the same time frame.
Bridgestone recommends that drivers of cars, pickup trucks, crossovers and SUVs implement a three-step safety plan to help ensure their tires remain in good shape:
- Inflate: Drivers should use a tire pressure gauge to check tire pressure at least once each month, as well as before long trips or when carrying a large load. Tires can lose one psi (pounds per square inch) per month under normal conditions. A lot of drivers depend on their tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to warn them if there is a change in their tire pressure. TPMS is a great tool, but it doesn't replace the need for regular, routine tire pressure checks with a tire pressure gauge.
- Rotate: Regular tire rotations also will help prevent irregular and premature wear. Tires should be rotated and balanced according to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations found in the vehicle owner's manual, or every 5,000 miles.
- Evaluate: Routinely look for signs of tread wear or damage. Drivers should check tread depth to make sure their tires have enough traction to grip the road. Use a tread depth gauge or the "penny test." Check by inserting a penny into each tread groove with Lincoln's head upside down. If all
To promote tire safety, Bridgestone urges commercial truck drivers and fleet owners to:
- Set and maintain proper cold inflation pressures. Cold inflation pressure is the inflation pressure of tires before they are driven.
- Abide by the tire's maximum recommended speed, which may be lower than posted speed limits.
- Select the right tire for the job, considering the proper tire size, load-carrying capacity, speed capability and service type.
- Inspect tires frequently for damage such as cuts, cracks, bulges and penetrations.