June 1-7 is National Tire Safety Week and a NASCAR driver is offering safety tips to the public.
National Tire Safety Week is an initiative of the Rubber Manufacturers Association. RMA's “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” program is part of a year-round effort designed to help drivers ensure that their tires are in good working condition.
Ryan Blaney has been a professional NASCAR driver for the past three years. He said that tire safety is critical for safety during racing and street driving.
"Tires are a huge safety factor for us," Blaney said. "You see, tires blow on our race car a lot. It's usually just (due) to wear and you can see that on a street car too. So that's the biggest thing we are trying to say, is make sure you check your tires always and make sure they are up to the task and not worn out to get you where you need to go (to) never have any failures.
Blaney said he has experienced blown out tires while racing during his career and that it can be a dangerous situation. He said the right front tires of a race car are usually what blow out because of the load and stress put on them during the turns of the race. The tires on a race car have to be changed every 50-60 laps or every 100 miles, he said.
Blaney said that while the general public doesn't need to change their tires as often as NASCAR racers, people still need to be aware of their tire pressure and make sure they have good tread on their tires.
According to RMA, only 15 percent of people properly check their tire pressure. Blaney said a penny can be used to measure and determine if the tread on a tire is adequate and a tire-pressure gauge should be used to check the air pressure.
Along with cautioning about tire safety, Blaney also said that "no texting while driving" is a growing campaign for NASCAR to increase safety. He said that driving in NASCAR races has increased his safety in day-to-day driving.
"Driving a race car at 200 miles per hour really raises your awareness and your reaction time to things that happen on the street," he said. "I think that just makes you a little bit better driver."
The RMA tell drivers to always be aware of tire pressure and tread and to align and rotate tires periodically.
Contact Faith Heaton Jolley at firstname.lastname@example.org.