Check your tread, reduce distractions to make it a safer winter

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (Jan 14, 2016) – Employees of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in District 2 are urging motorists to make it a “Safer Winter” by taking some simple steps during winter driving season, including checking your tire tread and reducing distractions.

Each year, highway crews do their part to improve driving conditions by spreading salt and plowing roads. Now that motorists across the region have faced their first round of winter driving for the season, highway crews are asking motorists to step up and do their part by ensuring their vehicle is fully prepared and by practicing safe driving habits.

Starting this week, the KYTC District 2 Facebook page will feature a social media campaign with personal safety messages, including some with hair-challenged crew members encouraging drivers to replace their bald tires.

“We’re asking, which is balder, me or your tires? And we’ll show you how to check your tread,” said Keith Todd, District 2 Public Information Officer, who – when not wearing a cap – sports a mostly hairless head.

Tire failures, balding tires, and defective brakes were the top vehicle-related factors in winter crashes last year – contributing to more than 2,000 crashes, according to the Kentucky State Police. A recent study in Colorado found that 86 percent of the vehicles involved in snow-day crashes had insufficient tire tread according to industry standards.

“Bald tires or bad brakes increase the risk of sliding off the road, losing control or otherwise endangering yourself and other drivers in snowy weather,” Todd said. “It’s tempting to try to milk as much mileage out of a set of tires as possible, but during the winter it just isn’t worth it to risk the safety of you, your family, or others.”

Todd noted that many tire suppliers have special deals and rebates this time of year, and most dealers will check your tire tread for free.

Last year, driver inattention, driving too fast for conditions, vehicle not under control, and failure to yield contributed to more than half – 58 percent – of all crashes in Kentucky, according to police crash records.

In the winter months, distracted driving becomes a more critical issue when road conditions dictate that you should have both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road ahead.

“We want everyone to arrive safe,” Todd said. “By checking your tire tread, remembering to put your phone down, and practicing safe-driving techniques at all times, we can make this a safer winter for everyone.”

To join in the Safe Winter Campaign, the media and the public can follow Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 2 on Facebook at and share driving tips posted there.

The first round of the safety effort a, “Which is Balder? Me or Your Tires?” graphic featuring a bald KYTC employee was posted this morning. The campaign will continue throughout the winter snow and ice season.

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