Tires can help keep you safe on the road

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When you head out for a quick trip to the store, or a long trip across the country, you’re relying on a less than an inch of rubber and many pounds per square inch of pressurized air to keep your vehicle driving safely down the road.

Depending on the vehicle, those four tires are designed to handle rain, rough terrain, a wide range of temperatures and plenty of miles. But there is always the potential for a tire to fail. If that failure happens when you’re traveling at high rates of speed, try these driving tips to handle your car, slow it down and get it out of traffic safely:

* Unfortunately, a blowout on one of your tires can cause your car to become very unstable. Frequently, this causes cars to roll over, potentially bringing more vehicles into the crash and causing additional damage, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. When you experience a tire blowout, try to keep your car stable in speed and direction. Don’t slam on the brakes, remove your foot from the accelerator or allow the car to swerve.

* If your car is under control, gradually release your foot from the accelerator, so that the car doesn’t immediately shift backward in weight. Pay attention to where you want to steer your car (watching for other drivers who may or may not be aware of your tire situation).

* Pull off to the side of the road and come to a complete stop slowly and carefully.

Some car maintenance tips on how to keep your tires in good shape, and hopefully preventing a blowout include:

* Keep your tires at the proper manufacturer’s recommended inflation. Under-inflated tires can become very hot, and over-inflated tires can have too much pressure, causing tire damage.

* Check the alignment, if your car is pulling in one direction or another, the tire might be misaligned, which can cause uneven wear in places on the tires.

* Rotate your tires to prevent wear from happening. Typically, it is recommended to do this twice a year, or every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific directions.

* Measure your tread to make sure it still can grip the road correctly. A general rule of thumb is to use a penny and stick it between the treads with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the entire top of his head, you’re probably in need of new tires.

Staying safe on the road is a good priority to have, and keeping your tires in excellent shape can help you and your family travel for many miles without a problem.