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Tire failures. Tire failures often boil down to human factors of neglect or ill-considered decision making. (Photo: Shutterstock)

With all the attention on state-of-the-art vehicle technologies, it is easy to ignore the tires that make that programmed motion possible. And that could be a fatal mistake. Even if the algorithms are working optimally at the wheel of a driverless car, a catastrophic tire failure is a rogue event that can bring that road trip to a crashing halt.

Starting in 2008, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), mandated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), keep newer vehicle owners apprised of the inflation status of their tires. For those who react to the flashing light on the dashboard, that is one tire-safety issue that can help ensure that the inflation pressures in all the tires are within manufacturer ranges. Proper inflation saves on fuel costs and increases tire longevity.

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