Texting and Driving – Talk to Young Drivers

textingBack to school commutes mean more young drivers on the road – whether it’s a short drive each morning and afternoon, or a long trip to a college campus. Today’s drivers, face a new safety threat/temptation in the form of cell phone use while driving. Young adults and teens have proven to be especially vulnerable to this potentially fatal behavior. If you have a young driver in your family, now is a great time to remind them of what’s at risk with texting and driving.

Texting and Driving is Everyone’s Problem

Many poor choices and destructive habits only affect the person who engages in them. Texting and driving is not one of those kind of behaviors. Literally everyone around the texting driver is in danger, from passengers in that car, to nearby vehicles and pedestrians.

While drivers of all ages can be guilty of texting and driving, young and inexperienced drivers may be particularly susceptible. The invincible, risk-taking attitude teens and young adults often have, combined with a lack of driving experience tends to result in a refusal to acknowledge the danger.

According to the advocacy website, Texting and Driving Safety, the minimum amount of time a driver is distracted by a text is five seconds. In that amount of time, at highway speeds, you will travel the length of a football field. Just a few seconds can result in a huge amount of risk.

An infographic on the website provides some stunning statistics regarding texting and teen driving:

  • 77% of young adults are very or somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving
  • 55% of young adult drivers claim it is easy to text while they drive

Whether they admit it or not, there is a problem:

Teens who text while driving spend approximately 10% of driving time outside of their lane.

13% of drivers 18-20 involved in car wrecks admitted to cell phone use at the time of the crash.

There is a wealth of great information to share with young drivers on the Texting and Driving Safety website. There are also a lot of powerful videos on the subject. Here is one example:

Be sure to talk to the young drivers in your life and also to set a good example for them. No amount of age or experience makes texting and driving safe.

Understanding Tire Code: Load Index, Speed Rating, and M+S Designation

The uniform tire code is imprinted on nearly every vehicle tire manufactured. This code not only identifies the tire, it also provides useful information about the tire. The first post focused on the type of tire and section width and the second post looked at aspect ratio, tire construction and wheel diameter. With this post, we complete our look at tire code with an explanation of the last three parts of the uniform tire code: load index, speed rating, and M + S designation.


Tire Code – Performance Index, Speed Rating, and Mud and Snow Designation

Performance Index
The tire performance index is displayed after the wheel diameter, and represents the tire’s load and speed ratings. In this case, the 93 load index represents 1,433 pounds, and the speed rating of V represents 149 mph.

Common Speed Ratings













Max. MPH












All-Season Tires with Mud and Snow Designation
When a tire has M+S on it, that means that it meets the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) guidelines for a mud and snow tire. Similar markings for this include MS, M&S, and M/S. In order for a tire to receive the Mud and Snow designation, it must meet specific RMA geometric requirements.

A tire with the correct tire load index for your vehicle means you that your tires are made to handle the weight of your vehicle. The speed rating shows the maximum speed your tires can handle, which tends to be more important in countries with roadways that are not subject to speed limitations. Whether or not the mud and snow designation is important will depend on the climate in which you live and drive.

Along with looking at the tire code, it is important to follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended specifications to assure safety and best vehicle performance. Selecting a dependable, quality tire is just the beginning. Maintaining the proper tire pressure will help you extend the life of your tires .

Understanding Tire Code: Aspect Ratio, Tire Construction, and Wheel Diameter

Understanding Tire CodeThis is post number two in our series on understanding tire code. The universal tire code is found on every vehicle tire manufactured, and provides information about the type of tire it is, what type of vehicle it is designed for, and the type of driving it is intended to do.

In our last post, we talked about tire and section width. Today, we will look a little further into the code, and take a look at aspect ratio, tire construction, and wheel diameter.

Aspect Ratio

Tire Code

Tire Code

The aspect ratio of the tire is listed as a percentage and gives the height of the tire from the bead to the top of the tread. Here the number is 55, which means the tire height is 55% of the section width of 215 millimeters. The height of this tire would be 118.25 millimeters. A lower number indicates a lower tire profile.

Tire Construction

The construction of the tire is identified by the letter following the aspect ratio. The most common designation is R, which stands for radial construction. Other, less common construction types for modern passenger cars may include D for bias ply construction and B for belted tires.

Wheel Diameter

The number following the construction code indicates the size of the wheel that the tire will fit in inches. The example tire would be designed to fit a 17-inch wheel. Tire sizes on most vehicles begin at 13-inches and go up to 18-inches. Custom package wheels can be 22-inches or even larger.

An important sizing calculation in tire fitting, aspect ratio should be considered with wheel diameter for the best tire and wheel combinations. Lower aspect ratio typically indicates a high performance tire, with better lateral stability. Most of the new tires will be marked R for radial construction, however if you are replacing old tires, you may see the D or B designations.

When considering aspect ratio, tire construction, and wheel diameter, you should always select your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended specifications to assure safe and optimal tire performance. Just as choosing a dependable, quality tire is important, it also necessary to choose one that is developed for the best performance given the weight and design of your vehicle.

Next time, we will look at the remaining portion of the tire code, which includes Load Index, Speed Rating, and Use Designation.