New “Smart Tires” Roll with the Future of Safety

Madeleine Jones
November 6, 2017

car new tire, car accidentNew “smart tires” use special sensors and compressors to control tire pressure and help tires adapt to different road conditions. These advanced technologies can help to prevent car accidents that result in injuries and fatalities.

Smart Tire Technologies

Continental Tires, a leading tire manufacturer, has been engineering award-winning tire technologies since 1871. As a name that is synonymous with industry-leading, technical tire development, Continental offers a complete premium line of passenger and light truck tires. The manufacturer is now developing a line of “smart tires” that use special technologies to help car tires adapt to different road conditions. These new smart tire technologies, recently shown at the Frankfurt Auto Show, focus on safety that can prevent car accidents and serious injuries to drivers and passengers.

ContiSense

ContiSense technology sends signals to the car by using sensors in the tires. Made from electrically conductive rubber compounds, sensors in the tires can send signals to receiving sensors in the vehicle when problems occur with the tires. Tire sensors can detect tread depth, tire temperatures, and tire pressure. If there’s a problem with any of these things, the sensors quickly relay the information to the driver. In the near future, Continental plans to use the ContiSense technology to also detect road conditions and alert drivers of available tire grip when encountering hazardous road conditions such as rain, snow, and ice.

ContiAdapt

CondiAdapt technology uses an advanced system with a series of small compressors that can continually adjust tire pressure to fit a special tire rim. This technology actually alters the size of the tire’s contact patch based on the road conditions and tire conditions at any given time. For highway driving and better fuel efficiency, tires adjust to low-rolling-resistance tires with greater tire pressure and a smaller contact patch. For increased tire grip, tires adjust with reduced tire pressure and a wider contact patch. The ability to adjust tire pressure as needed for road conditions will create safer driving conditions and increased fuel efficiency.

Tire Safety and Accident Prevention

Although automobile safety has improved over the last few decades, vehicle defects are still a leading cause of car accident and injuries commonly seen by a car accident lawyer. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration vehicle crash reports, vehicle defects including tire blowouts were responsible for more than 44,000 vehicle accidents in 2016. Changes in temperatures and hazardous road conditions are the leading causes of tire blowouts. According to AAA, tire-blowouts occur most frequently during spring and summer months when the pavement is hot, motorists are traveling more often, and vehicles are overloaded for travel destinations. This combination of circumstances can quickly cause a damaged or neglected tire to blowout suddenly without warning.

Proper Tire Pressure

Without the proper air pressure, a tire’s internal components can stretch beyond their designed limits. When this occurs, tires can easily suffer damage causing them to weaken and fail. When temperatures rise, tires tend to naturally inflate. Tires that are under-inflated tend to overheat beyond a normal range. When tires come into contact with hot freeway asphalt, the added friction combined with high speeds often leads to blowouts that result in car accidents and injuries. To prevent blowouts from under-inflated tires, The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration recommends checking tire pressure (PSI – pound by square inch) at least once a month and replacing tires every six years.

Overloaded Vehicles

An overloaded vehicle puts added pressure on tires and contributes to blowouts, especially when tires are under-inflated. Checking the vehicle’s Gross Vehicular Weight Rating, usually located on the same placard with recommended tire pressure, will ensure proper weight. When carrying heavy loads, tire pressure should be increased to maximum pressure, indicated on the sidewall of the tire. The number that’s molded into the tire tells the maximum weight the tire can carry when it’s inflated to maximum pressure. A Las Vegas car accident lawyer often sees serious accidents and injuries caused by overloaded vehicles traveling to Las Vegas.

Road Hazards

Many tires suffer damages like cuts, abrasions, punctures and tread loss due to road hazards long before they actually fail. If tires are not regularly inspected, they can fail unexpectedly at any time. Running over obstacles in the road or hitting potholes can easily damage today’s low-profile rubber tires. The impact pinches the tire’s internal components between the obstacle and the wheel. A hard impact can cut or fray internal components which will result in an immediate blowout.

New safe tire technology will help to prevent blowouts from improper tire pressure and hazardous road conditions in the future. Drivers with safe tires will experience increased road safety and fewer car accidents that often result in serious injuries and fatalities.