A woman died in a terrible accident on I-10 Friday. Now we know her name. DPS has identified the victim as 58 year old Cathy Morales of Benson.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause but say tire failure is a real possibility.
DPS says the woman driving this large SUV, lost control, crossed the median, hit another SUV head on and both vehicles hit a flatbed semi, which rolled over.
Investigators are still determining exactly what happened but harsh, hot highway conditions make tire failure a very possible suspect.
Debris on the road can lead to a blow-out but old, or under-inflated tires are more prone to fail.
At Brakemax on Pantano, Ian Firth says severe under inflation can have you riding on the sidewalls as well as the tread.
“So if you're under inflated, there's not enough air pressure in there to keep in firm over here so it'll start riding on here and it actually starts wearing this rubber out quicker than it does down here. Craig: And this was never meant to be on the road. Yeah.”
And there's another hazard when under inflation lets a sidewall flex and flex and flex. It'll heat up, sort of like when you heat up a piece of metal by twisting and twisting and twisting it until it finally breaks."
So don't even wait for the low tire warning. Look in your door frame for the sticker with the right tire pressure and keep those tires aired up.
And don't let your tires get old and worn out.
Ian Firth says, “We do see tires baked by the sun so they've got heavy weather cracking on them which can cause issues as well."
Professionals use a depth gauge to measure the tread. If the depth is 3/32nd of an inch or less it's time for new tires. But you can just measure with a penny. If you can see the top of Abe Lincoln's head your tread is too thin.
Arizona's Department of Public Safety offers a detailed list of other car safety advise. You can read it here.