Worn tires are one of the most dangerous things you can do in your vehicle and are an accident just waiting to happen. If you like to drive over the speed limit or often travel on wet, slippery roads, you could be in even more danger on bald tires. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that over 26 percent of crashes they studied involved vehicles with insufficient tread.
The Role of Tire Tread
Your tire tread is the part of the tire that grips the road when the weather is bad, such as in rain, snow or ice. They are what keep you in control of your car and prevent you from slipping off the road. If our vehicles only traveled on dry roads, there would be no need for treaded tires. In fact, race cars, like those used in NASCAR, do not have treaded tires. Unfortunately, other than a race track, roads are not always dry and there is very little chance that you will never have to drive in wet conditions.
What Are Tire Treads?
Treads are the small grooves or channels on the surface of your tires. The tread whisks water from the tire when roads are wet so that the tire connects to the road in all weather conditions. They are also important for steering the car, making sure that the vehicle travels in the direction we turn the wheels. When the tread is gone on your tires, it is critical that you replace them as soon as possible. Driving on bald tires are the cause of many accidents.
Increased Hydroplaning Risk
When a layer of water gets between your tire and the surface of the road, the tire cannot grip the road as it is designed to do. This can cause your car to spin out of control and lead to an accident. Keeping good tread on your tires allows the water to move away from the area where the tire meets the road. However, as we drive, the tread on the tires wears away, leading to grooves that are too shallow to direct water as they were designed.
As you drive, friction is created between your tires and the surface of the road. This creates heat and, the faster you drive, the more heat the tire must manage. Tread helps to cool the tire due to the air flow between the grooves of the tread. When the heat rises to unsafe levels, a blowout can occur which can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
Snow and Ice Handling
If you drive in areas with snow and ice through the winter, tires with little or no tread can be extremely dangerous. Tires also have small, thin grooves cut into the edges of the tread known as sipes that help you maintain traction on slippery roads. As tread wears down, the sipes can wear down as well and you could lose control in snowy conditions much more easily than with full-tread tires.
When your tires have less tread, they can lose air pressure more quickly than tires with the proper tread depth. Although it is always good practice to check your tire pressure regularly, if your tires are bald, they may be losing air quicker than you think. If your tires are bald and underinflated, the danger increases significantly. Underinflated tires have difficulty gripping the road even if it is dry. They can also cause your car to skid during sudden stops and could reduce your gas mileage, costing you additional money in fuel.
If you suspect your tires have low tread, we can inspect them for you and identify what may be causing your tires to wear out. Fill out the form online or give us a call today to schedule an appointment.