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Yesterday, June 23, a single vehicle accident involving a 15-passenger
van leaves two dead and 13 injured. A
tire failure is the suspected cause.
The passengers are believed to be a family from the Dallas-Fort Worth
area on their way to Mexico for a family vacation.

High rollover risk vehicles, such as 15-passenger vans and
SUV’s, are the leading contributor to an increase in the number of deaths in
auto accidents last year according to U.S. traffic statistics. There are about one and a half million 15-passenger
vans registered in the U.S. according to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration. Many of which are owned
and operated by churches, schools, and community organizations.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also
released two customer advisories warning about the increased rollover risk in
15 passenger vans filled with occupants.
When these vans are filled, like in the case of the I-35 rollover, the
van’s center of gravity is moved toward the rear of the vehicle making the van
difficult to handle in an emergency situation.

Because of these advisories, statistics, and potential
lawsuits some insurance companies will no longer cover these types of vehicles.

Even if you don’t own a high rollover risk vehicle, there
are plenty of things you can do to prepare for a long road trip that will
reduce the risk of tire related problems.
Some tire related accidents happen because of defects in the
manufacturing process of the tire or because of flaws in the design. Others happen because of a lack of proper
tire maintenance.

Be sure to check the tire pressure to verify it is inflated
properly. Over or under inflation can
lead to improper ware on the tire.
Check the depth of your tire’s tread as well. The minimum amount of tread allowed by law is 1/16th
of an inch. This can be checked with a
penny; turn it upside down and insert it in the groves of your tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head your
tread could be too low. Get your tires
rotated and balanced at regular intervals.
Most tires should be rotated every 3000 to 6000 miles, but refer to your
vehicles owner manual to be sure.

Many tire stores will offer these services very cheap. Sometimes they will even do it for free if
you bought your tires from them.

There are also things you can do while on your trip to
prevent these kind of accidents. When
you stop for gas take the time to visually inspect your tires for signs of
damage. While driving, listen for
thumping. A thumping noise coming from
one of the tires while driving can be the sign of a tire going flat or tread

A little maintenance and planning for a road trip can get
everyone safely to their vacation destination.

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