GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Despite record-high gas prices, summer vacations and road trips are happening all across the country. To help keep drivers safe this summer season, the U.S. Tire Manufacturer’s Association is kicking off its yearly awareness campaign, National Tire Safety Week.

Happening from June 27th to July 3rd, the annual campaign is working to educate motorists about tire care, safety, and maintenance as an important part of road safety.

Here are 7 tire tips:

Visual inspection — Before hitting the road, take a few minutes to check the condition of your
tires. Well-maintained tires keep your car safer and save you money by reducing fuel
consumption and making your tires last longer. Look for any abnormalities like cuts or bulges in
the sidewall or internal components such as steel cord showing through the tread. If you see
any of these conditions, see your local tire dealer immediately.

Check tread depth — The tire tread is the part of the tire that actually meets the road. It
includes tread blocks or tread lugs, tread grooves, tread voids, sipes, and a wear bar. Tire wear
bars are small, raised bars found within the grooves of your tires between the tread markings.
They are placed all around the tire at different points to measure how evenly your tread is
being worn down. If you run your finger horizontally over the tire wear bears and it feels even,
your tire is down to 2/32” in tread depth and it’s time to replace your tires. This is critical,
because your wet traction will be compromised, and you will risk hydroplaning if your tread
depth is not sufficient.

Check inflation pressure — Buy a tire gauge and keep it handy in your car at all times. It will
inform you if you need to add more air to your tires. Check your tire pressure at least once per
month, especially before a long trip. Remember, underinflation is a tire’s No. 1 enemy
because it can cause damage that may lead to tire failure. However, overinflation can cause
uneven wear plus handling and stopping problems. Use the manufacturer’s recommended air
pressure listed on the sticker of your vehicle’s door jamb or owner’s manual as a guide. Always
check the pressure of your tires when they are cool or cold. Driving heats up tires, which makes
the air PSI (pounds per square inch) appear higher than actual.

Avoid overloading — Overloading your vehicle can create excessive heat inside your tires which
puts stress on tires that can cause damage and lead to tire failure. Check the manufacturer’s
load recommendation, which can be found on the vehicle information placard inside the
driver’s side door post, or in the vehicle owners’ manual. Remember that the weight of the
vehicle’s occupants must also be taken into account when calculating the load.

Choose tires carefully — Too many drivers buy a tire based on initial price or appearance. Tire
selection should be based on the correct size recommended for the vehicle and its load
recommendations. You should consult with a knowledgeable tire or automobile dealer about
selecting the proper tire for your vehicle based on your typical driving patterns.

Slow down in wet weather – In addition to having sufficient tread depth for wet traction,
remember to ease up on the gas pedal in wet weather. As your speed decreases, the tire
footprint (the amount of the tire’s tread contacting the road surface) increases, providing
better traction. You also reduce the risk of hydroplaning should you run into water puddles on
the road.

Rotate tires and check vehicle alignment — Rotate your tires every 6,000 miles to obtain
maximum tire life. If your tires show uneven wear, ask your tire dealer or automotive service
professional to check for and correct any misalignment, imbalance, or other mechanical
problem involved before rotation.