Call today for a consultation


Legal Blog

Can Underinflated Tires Cause a Car Accident?

Published: Sep 15, 2023 in Auto Accident, Personal Injury
Edwardsville Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm Provide Experienced Legal Counsel

Driving with underinflated tires is dangerous and can lead to an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that this problem affects at least one tire on almost a third of American road passenger cars, SUVs, and light trucks. According to the NHTSA, inflating tires to the correct pressure could prevent thousands of injuries annually.

What Happens When Tires Are Underinflated?

The correct tire pressure is crucial for optimal vehicle performance, reducing the risk of accidents and prolonging the lifespan and even wear of tires. Underinflated tires have more surface area in contact with the road as the vehicle travels. This weakens the tire through increased friction and uneven and faster wear down of the tread. Weak tires are at increased risk of overheating or blowouts. A blowout is a catastrophic failure of the tire where the internal bands or sidewall collapse causes the tire to explode.

Underinflated tires also have less grip on the road, making it difficult to control the car and brake effectively. In top-heavy vehicles with underinflated tires, the amount the vehicle sways when cornering increases, which could cause a rollover.

Hydroplaning is more likely to happen with underinflated tires because they have more surface area in contact with the road, increasing the chance that water will get between the tire and the road. Hydroplaning creates a temporary loss of control of the vehicle when a layer of water prevents the tires from coming into contact with the road.

How Do I Know if My Tires Are Underinflated?

Check your tires with a reliable pressure gauge. This should be done once a month before you go on long road trips and after the car has been sitting unused for a long time. The tires should be cold for an accurate reading, so check them in the morning before the vehicle has been driven or after sitting for a few hours at least. Driving warms the air inside the tires and will result in an inaccurate reading of the pressure. After checking your tires’ pressure, fill or let out air as needed to maintain the right pressure. Do not forget the spare tire when performing maintenance.

Many modern vehicles have systems that warn drivers when tire pressure is too low. However, the warning usually comes when it has reached an unsafe level. It is best to check tire pressure regularly and not wait for a warning from the vehicle system.

Liability for an Accident Caused by Underinflated Tires

Drivers have a duty of care, or responsibility, for the safety of others, sharing the road with them. This means performing regular maintenance on your vehicle, including checking and maintaining the correct tire pressure. Failure to do so could mean being held liable for an accident if it can be shown that you were negligent in taking reasonable precautions to eliminate safety hazards related to your vehicle.

Sometimes, accidents are caused by manufacturing defects. If a product such as a faulty tire was the cause of an accident, the manufacturer may be held liable for the damages caused by the product.

Edwardsville Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm Provide Experienced Legal Counsel

If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a car accident, your medical concerns may be overwhelming. Our dedicated Edwardsville car accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm can take care of your legal needs and fight to hold the responsible party accountable. Call us today at 618-277-3644 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients in St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout Southern Illinois.