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May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Driving Tips: Avoidable Summer Road Hazards That Will Cost You

Tiltshift-traffic-by-flickr_photos_27147_3411775886 Memorial Day marks the beginning of the Summer Travel season! Are you taking a road trip this weekend? At AskPatty, we know taking to the road for a summer getaway can be fun and enjoyable but only if the proper precautions are taken to get your vehicle 'summer-ready,' so you can keep passengers safe and sound during the busy travel season ahead.  TireRack.com, America's largest independent tire tester and consumer-direct source for tires, wheels and performance  accessories, encourages drivers on the road in search of sun, sand, and relaxation to "look ahead, below, and drive around."

According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more than $26.6 billion has been dedicated to 12,000 road, highway, and bridge projects across the country.  Approximately 28 million people will drive to their Memorial Day holiday destinations this weekend, up about six percent from the 26.4 million who drove in 2009, according to AAA.

"Summer is a busy time for drivers and hidden dangers on the road.  With government funding at an all-time high for road construction and repair, travelers need to remember that summer road safety starts from the ground up and with the driver," said Matt Edmonds, vice president, TireRack.com.

TireRack.com experts recommend the following summer road warrior tips:
Look Ahead, Slow Down and Drive Around:
"Give 'Em a Brake": Slow down and be extra aware in construction areas, around maintenance crews and whenever you come upon an emergency vehicle or any other vehicle on the side of the road. A little additional caution and care will save many lives.

Artisticpothole-by-flickr_photos_msvg_4304094088 Potholes: 
Driving through just one "large" pothole  can weaken a tire, reducing its long-term durability, bend a wheel, reducing ride quality and knock a vehicle out of alignment, reducing handling and tire life.  Slow down as much as traffic will allow if avoiding a pothole isn't possible. Drive around puddles because they can be hiding deep rain-filled potholes. 

Uneven pavement: 
The spring and summer construction seasons bring road re-building and re-surfacing.  Lanes under repair often have sharp edges where the old pavement was ground away.  Slow down when entering and exiting where the lane was removed.  It's often about a two-inch difference if the road crew hasn't smoothed the transition back to the original level.


Summer vs. All-Season Tires:
Summer tires are designed specifically for warm and wet weather.  For a list of summer tires that deliver driving excellence in both dry and wet weather regarding handling, cornering, steering and braking visit www.TireRack.com.

Keep the Pressure On:
Tires don't carry the weight of your vehicle, the pressure inside them does.  Underinflated tires offer less traction, can reduce fuel mileage, can wear out prematurely and most importantly suffer unnoticeable and irreparable damage that compromises their performance and safety.

Quarter Lincoln vs. Washington:
Unexpected downpours are frequent in warm weather and insufficient tread-depth can double your stopping distance, a fact that the Tire Rack team proved through testing.  Consider replacing your tires when they reach approximately 4/32" of remaining tread depth.  Tire Rack has shown 'The Lincoln Penny Test' can put you at risk on wet roads and recommends using a Washington Quarter to check tread-depth and determine when to shop for new tires.  See more here at TireRack.com.

While most drivers are cautious during the winter months on ice and snow, many tend to forget the dangers they face during the summer season.  For a free Tire Decision Guide and a wealth of information about buying the correct tires for any driving condition and climate, drivers should visit www.tirerack.com.

Creative commons images by 27147 and msvg at flickr.com



Jody-devere_president_askpatty Jody DeVere
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