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Catastrophic Truck and Car Crashes Can Be Caused By Over and Under Inflated Tires

October 18, 2012 | Category: Tire Failures | Share

Over inflated tires make vehicles more prone to slipping because less tire surface grips the road.  This slipping can result in vehicle rollovers. 

But even more dangerous than over inflated tires, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that under inflation of tires (25% below their rated pressure) is three times more likely to cause vehicle crashes. Not only do under inflated tires overheat and explode causing blowouts, they also cause instability, even under ideal conditions, making vehicles difficult to maneuver.

In August 2012 the California Highway Patrol reported that a family of 4 was killed in a car crash on Rt. 99 in California. The cause of the crash was determined to be related to under inflated tires.

In July 2012 an Arkansas 5 year old lost his life in a car crash in Texas following a tire blowout which was likely caused by tire under inflation.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that 90% of tire failures are caused by under inflated tires.

Proper Tire Inflation

Legislators and industry have been working on the problem since the Ford Explorer recall of 13 million tires more than a decade ago.  After which, Congress mandated that all vehicles be equipped with TPMS (tire pressure monitoring systems).  In the beginning these basic systems would often give false alerts, not designate which tire was under inflated, or were simply ignored.  Today, manufacturers are using more advanced TPMS technology which will identify which tire has the problem.

"Technology can be wonderful, but a combination of technology and knowledge is even better," says Attorney Randall Spivey, Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.

Know where the information on tire pressure is on the tires?  

According to BFGoodrich, tires can lose up to 1 psi (pounds per square inch) every month.  It's important to check tires (including the spare) at least monthly.

Here's how they recommend doing it:

  1. Purchase a trusted pressure gauge.
  2. Check your tires “cold” – before you’ve driven or at least three hours after you’ve driven.
  3. Insert pressure gauge into the valve stem on your tire. (The gauge will “pop” out and show a measured number. When you hear a “pssst” sound, that’s air escaping the tire. The escaping air shouldn’t affect pressure substantially, unless you hold down the air pressure gauge too long.)
  4. Compare the measured psi to the psi found on the sticker inside the driver’s door of your vehicle or in owner’s manual. DO NOT compare to the psi on your tire’s sidewall.
  5. If your psi is above the number, let air out until it matches. If below, add air  until it reaches the proper number.

"Monitoring the inflation level of tires as well as monitoring tires' wear and tear are the drivers' responsibility.  Do it, and do it regularly," cautions Attorney Spivey.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle crash as a result of  improper tire inflation or any other reason,  please contact us today to discuss your legal rights.


Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by less than 2 percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 1,500 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.,  in Lee County at  239. 337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to  Visit for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.




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