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11% Vehicles Have at Least One Bald Tire, Survey Shows

A recent survey conducted by the AAA on more than 7,000 vehicles revealed that 11 percent of them had at least one bald tire, which could increase the risk of crash, especially during fall and winter months, when slippery weather conditions form.

Under wet weather conditions, bald tires can hydroplane, which can lead to a loss of vehicle control and increase the risk of a crash. When a vehicle hydroplanes, the tire is riding on a film of water.

The surveys were sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the national trade association of tire manufacturers in the U.S. RMA is urging motorists to regularly check tire tread depth and replace worn out tires before they become a serious safety risk.

"In this bad economy, drivers may be delaying necessary vehicle maintenance to save costs," said Charles Cannon, RMA president and CEO. "But that delay may cost you more dearly if worn out tires lead to a crash with injuries or fatalities."

RMA advises drivers to do the ‘penny test’ that works something like this: take a penny; insert Abe Lincoln's head upside down into the tread. If you can see all of his head, your tire is 2/32nds of an inch deep or less and should be replaced.

"Your tires literally keep your vehicle attached to the road," Cannon added. "Bald tires are dangerous because they cannot grip the road properly, they increase stopping distances and can contribute to skidding or loss of vehicle control."


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