The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just launched a consumer advisory urging motorists to inspect their tires for pressure, wear and damage.

The latest statistics from the NHTSA show that over the five-year 2005-2009 period nearly 3,400 people died and some 116,000 people were injured in tire-related car crashes.

"While it is true improperly maintained tires can contribute to a crash at any time of the year, it is particularly critical during hot weather, when families and luggage often overload vehicles for long vacation trips." NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said. He added that underinflated tires spinning on hot asphalt for an extended time can be a recipe for disaster.

What should Florida motorists do to lower the risk of a tire-related crash?

Motorists should check their tires regularly, and especially before long trips. Worn tires are more susceptible to heat, particularly if they are not properly inflated. Underinflated tires increase the contact surface between the tire and the roadway, adding substantially to the tires' temperature while riding.

Furthermore, underinflated tires will lower the vehicle's gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 PSI (pound per square inch) drop in pressure on all four wheels.

As an example, a car with a mileage rating of 30 miles per gallon and a 35 PSI recommended pressure would experience 9 percent higher fuel consumption if the tires are inflated at 26 PSI.

According to a RMA (Rubber Manufacturers Association) survey, millions of U.S. drivers do not know how to properly check and adjust tire pressure. Kathleen Marvaso, AAA Vice-President for Public Affairs noted that AAA will respond to more than one million motorist assistance requests for tire-related issues this summer alone.

6 steps to check and adjust your tires to the proper pressure:

  1. Buy and keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle;
  2. Locate your tires' recommended pressure on the tire pressure label or in the owner's manual;
  3. Record the pressure of all tires;
  4. If the tire pressure is too high, release a little air by pressing on the tire valve stem and check the resulting pressure. Repeat as necessary;
  5. If the tire pressure is too low, add the missing pounds of air pressure at a service station;
  6. Check all tires for wear and damage.

The Daytona Beach attorneys of Johnson & Gilbert PA take your safety seriously. If you have been hurt in a car accident, call today toll free at (800) 556-8890 and locally at (386) 673-4412 or fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.