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David Bernstein
David Bernstein
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Watch out for Flying Alligators (tires that shred in heat)

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Chances are good that you will be seeing plenty of tire-tread strips along the highways this summer. With temperatures reaching 100 degrees in Oklahoma and other parts of the country, the temperature for tires going 70 mph can reach 200 degrees.

This high temperature can cause tires to fly apart, which is called "Flying Alligators" or "Flying Gators." Why? Because these shredded tire walls, flying down the highway at 70mph, can BITE you!

An underinflated tire builds up heat as the internal parts flex and push against each other, weakening the bond between the tread and the underlying steel belts, especially when the temperature is above 100 degrees. The results can be catastrophic, causing blowouts, crashes and vehicle rollovers.

To decrease your chances of causing a "Flying Alligator", check your tire pressures at least once a month. Underinflation raises rolling resistance and lowers mileage. Replace old tires even if there is tread remaining. After a few years of weather torture, most tires are ready to let go.

To decrease your chances of being bitten by a "Flying Alligator", do not follow too closely behind a car or truck, especially an 18 wheeler.

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  1. Truckie D says:
    up arrow

    David –

    Good info for folks to remember.

    Here’s a link to a clip from MythBusters on YouTube that illustrates it most effectively:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvcwCCWkhBI

    td