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What Are the Dangers of Low Tire Pressure?

by Monica Baylor

Having a reliable car is a necessity for most people. Keeping your tires in good condition will improve your car's reliability. A tire underinflated by only 6 psi, which equals about 20 percent of the total recommended tire pressure for most passenger vehicles, can present dangers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, underinflation of tires is involved in 20 percent of car crashes.

Affects Steering

Tires with low air pressure cannot keep their shape. Underinflated tires become flatter as the wheels roll, and the tires will bend. Uneven tire wear comes from underinflation. This results in a shorter tire life and can become an issue when braking on wet surfaces. NHSTA data indicates stopping distances are longer on wet surface when tires have low air pressure. These factors result in less accurate steering, and the tires lose their ability to carry weight successfully. Loss steering control will cause a car crash. Low tire pressure will eventually lead to tire failure.Since the tire is uneven and more tire hits the ground, it has more chances of running over sharp objects.

Heat

Heat builds up inside underinflated tires. Tires can operate with some increased heating, but too much heat build-up is dangerous. Low pressure tires become overheated and explode or blowout.

Blowouts

An underinflated tires is prone to a blowout, which is a tear in tire that results in rapid air loss. A blowout in a front tire can cause your car to veer into another lane or off the road. A rear-tire blowout can cause your car to spin. Because steering becomes unstable during a blowout, you may lose control of your car. Large vehicles, such as vans and SUVs, have a high risk of rollover when a tire blows out. Rollover crashes sometimes result in fatalities. The NHTSA estimates that blowouts caused by underinflated tires cause 41 deaths and 1,028 injuries annually.

About the Author

Based in San Diego County, Calif., Monica Baylor has been writing since 1995. Her articles have appeared in the “Southwestern Sun” newspaper and The NU Herald online newspaper. Baylor holds Bachelor of Arts in digital journalism from National University.

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