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Old tires: An accident waiting to happen

New tires for a car can be a big expense -- so some drivers put the purchase off as long as possible.

Unfortunately, that can be an even bigger mistake -- one that leads right to an avoidable accident on the road. Old, worn-out tires present hazards much more serious than just an inconvenient flat. In fact, bad tires are thought to be the underlying cause of more than one-quarter of all car accidents. Here's why they're so dangerous:

You need them to handle wet roads

Whether the wet stuff on the ground is water, snow or ice is irrelevant -- it takes good treads to traverse the roads safely. Proper treads (including that of snow tires in winter) improve the traction your car gets by gripping the road more tightly. The deep groves are angled to help direct water away from the tires, which is essential to keep the car from hydroplaning. Balding tires increase the chance that you'll spin out on a road that's barely even wet.

They help prevent blowouts

Finding your car with a flat tire in the parking lot is bad -- but an abrupt blowout while you're in motion can be dangerous. If you're traveling at a high rate of speed, you can quickly spin out of control and get into an accident. Thick treads help protect you from common road hazards -- like stray nails and broken glass. They may not prevent every hole, but they're more likely to resist a blowout and produce a slow leak instead, giving you time to get a repair.

Good treads make steering and stopping easier

Can your tires affect how easily you can steer a car? You bet they can. Without a decent set of tires, every change in the surface of the road becomes a struggle to steer -- especially if you're moving quickly. You'll also have a much harder time braking -- poor treads require much more space for stops.

If you're in an accident despite your best precautions, take a quick look at the other party's tires. If they're worn out, the odds are high that those bad tires contributed toward your accident -- which means that the other party could be liable for your personal injuries and losses.

Source: fixautousa.com, "5 Reasons Why Driving On Worn Out Tires Can Be Dangerous," accessed April 18, 2018

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