ATLANTA - AAA reports that calls to fix flat or damaged tires are up 15 percent this summer compared to spring, possibly because of the increasing heat.
It’s not just AAA reporting increased calls during hot months. Georgia Department of Transportation HERO trucks changed nearly 18,000 tires last year -- 40 percent of those between June and September.
Using her infrared laser thermometer, Channel 2’s Katie Walls showed that as the air temperature climbs into the 90s, the road surface temperature heats up to nearly 150 degrees. That heat combined with under-inflated tires can be disastrous.
“The danger could be it could blow out, which could not only be dangerous for the driver, but for anyone else on the road at that time,” explains Garrett Townsend,director of public affairs for AAA.
An under-inflated tire flexes more as you travel, generating more heat.
To prevent a potential tragedy, keep tires maintained and properly inflated, using the panel on your door jamb for reference, not the tire itself.
Townsend recommends checking the tire pressure monthly, especially in North Georgia, where we experience a full range of temperatures.
“Particularly in Atlanta, there are a lot of people on the road. We travel more miles usually than most people in the country. Because of that fact, you’ll have to check those things more often,” says Townsend.
If you’re worried that you’re not taking your tire pressure incorrectly, take your car to a professional. Oftentimes, a tire check is free.
“If somebody doesn’t know, they don’t feel comfortable doing it, go to a professional. They can do it for you and make sure that your tires are properly inflated,” says Townsend.
Finally, watch your weight. The maximum load for your trailer or car, passengers and all, is listed on the door jamb and in your owner’s manual. Pack on too much weight and plan on a blowout.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are, on average, 11,000 tire-related crashes annually. Nearly 200 people will die in those tire-related crashes each year.
If you do have a roadside emergency, try and get to the shoulder. Stay in your car, and call AAA or dial 511. A GDOT HERO unit will be dispatched to you.