A married couple from Ocala were killed while their twin daughters left uninjured, after a tire on the family mini van blew out in Valdosta Georgia on June 11th, 2009. Officers reported that Jonathan Simmons, 47, and his wife Undine, 46, died on the scene while inspecting the damage to their vehicle after the blow out. As the two were standing on I-75 an SUV, over- correcting from debris still remaining in the road, struck the Simmonses. The occupants of the SUV and the twin Simmons daughters were unharmed.
The period following an accident leaves those left behind with many emotions and questions, sometimes the most troubling being, could this have been prevented with proper tire maintenance? We probably will never know the answer to this question and my heart goes out to the Simmons family, however, maybe we can take this time to reflect on the important issue of care and maintence of our vehicle’s tires.
A tire blow out is a sudden deflation of a tire during vehicle operation. It is almost spontaneous, and can lead to serious damage, roll-overs, loss of control of the vehicle, injury, and even death. The best way to deal with tire blow outs is to do what you can to prevent them from happening to you. The following are measures that every motorist should take before embarking on a cross country road trip, or even a cross town grocery run.
1) Check your tires’ pressure at least once a month. Tire pressure gauges are available at any auto parts store and are both inexpensive and small for storage in your glove compartment. (Do not over or under inflate your tires; inflate to the recommended specifications for your particular tires.)
(Low tire pressure can also lead to reduced fuel economy)
2) Any time you run over a curb, debris in the road, or come into contact with any object while driving, get out and inspect all tires to ensure that they are undamaged.
3) Stay current with any recalls that might affect their safety performance.
4) If your tires are excessively worn, you should replace them immediately. Worn tires will reduce traction, overall vehicle performance, and run a higher risk of blow out. (You can do this by a visual inspection looking for bubbles, or seperations, and also you can check tread wear by inserting a penny, head down, between the treads, and if the treads do not cover part of Lincoln’s head… your tires need replacing.)
5) Have your tires, and generally entire vehicle, inspected regularly. And if you suspect that there is a problem with your vehicle, have it examined by a certified mechanic.