204 – Runflats, Winter Tires, and Electric Vehicle Tires

Episode 204 Runflats, Winter and Electric Vehicle Tires

There seems to be a lot of news about tires these days. Runflats, Winter, and electric vehicle tires are all making news.We have covered the relationship between tire knowledge and the Security Driver and Secure Transportation provider through previous episodes in this podcast, our YouTube Channel, and social media posts.

So, before we dive into the news, a quick refresher. 

As a Security Driver or a Secure Transportation Provider, the vehicle is the infamous tool in the toolbox. It’s the device that earns you a paycheck or a living. We need to consider that almost everything you do in your vehicle ends up relying on your tires to perform the way you expect them to. There are only three things you can do in the vehicle; you can make it go, stop, and turn. Actually, you can do five things in the vehicle because you can go, turn, stop, and stop and turn. In the past, through the Scotti school, we have had students that try to make the car go up, but that never turns out too well.

All three of those things -go, stop, and turn, are dependent on the tires and their performance.

So, when news about tires and how they affect the Security Driver and the Secure Transportation function comes into the Association’s network, our members and we feel that we need to make the community aware of this important news. So here are a few news items that have come out lately that we hope can assist you.

11,000 accidents are caused every year due to defective tires

The first news item that got our attention and was the catalyst for the episode. An article from Automotive Fleet shared a statistic from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) that mentions that 11,000 accidents are caused every year due to defective tires. 

The most common cause of failure includes tread separations, blowouts, bald tires, and under-inflated tires. Underinflated tires or worn-down treads are a major cause of failure. Under-inflation also leads to poor fuel economy, sluggish handling, longer stopping distances, and increased stress on tire components. 

You are relying on your vehicle’s tires every day.  So you should know as much about tires as you do about vehicles and, if you carry one, your weapon.

A post from the NHTSA mentioned that there are 612 fatalities due to problems with tires. 

If you want to add to your tire knowledge, we suggest you visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website. there’s a link in the show notes

NHTSA Tire Overview

Safety Tips: Bad Tires Cause 11,000 Accidents Annually

There is another excellent source of tire knowledge on the Tire Rack’s website. The Tire Rack is a company that sells and tests all types of tires and is constantly putting out good information about tires, how to buy and use them, and their effect on the driving task. To get to the information and research they share and conduct, go to the Research and Advice section of their website. A link to the site is in the show notes.

Tire Rack

Some articles concerning Run Flats have been in the news. 

The one that caught our attention was from Autoweek Magazine – Why Do Run-Flat Tires Suck? Science, and Tradeoffs

We respectfully disagree with them. The article talks about the Self-Supporting Run Flats System. These are not the type of Run-Flat that is used in most Security and Armored Vehicles.

There are two primary types of run-flat tire systems: The Self-Supporting System and The Run Flat Insert.

The Self-Supporting tire systems feature reinforced sidewall construction that will continue supporting the vehicle in the event of air loss up to the speed and distance specified by the manufacturer.

Run Flat tire insert systems employ a ring of hard rubber or another structure material that can support the vehicle’s weight in an air loss condition. We put together the pros and cons of both systems in our Podcast Episode 177 – Basic Outline of CG, Tires, Run Flats on Armored Vehicles. Link in the show notes.

Also, ISDA Member Gerardo Corona’s article about Run Flats goes beyond the concept of using Run Flats and gets into the effectiveness of an ambush scenario; also a must-read. In the Show Notes

The Wildcard of Security Driving: Run-Flat Inserts – Part 1

Winter – Cold  Weather and Tires

Every year cold weather and winter create news about tires pressures and tires or whether we should use winter tires vs. all-season tires.

We are a big fan of Consumer Reports. We feel that they conduct the most accurate and unbiased analysis of vehicle and vehicle products.

Their article – Why Tires Go Flat in Cold Weather is another news piece that got our attention.

This is an excerpt from the article – “As winter approaches, many motorists will experience a low-pressure warning light on the dash or simply observe that the tires look a bit less complete than they should. The main reason for this is the dropping temperatures, which cause the air to become denser and consequently lower the tire pressure. Couple that with tires naturally losing pressure over time, and fall and winter can be a busy time for pressure checks and adding a little air.

Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are a real boon to safety and convenience, and they have been required on all new cars since September 2007. The TPMS uses a dashboard light to let you know when one or more tires are significantly low on air. As a general rule, check the pressure monthly. Don’t wait for the tire pressure warning light to come on. It’s meant to alert you of a tire losing air while you’re driving, not serve as a maintenance reminder.”

The Problem with TPMS

We agree but need to point out and make all drivers aware of the inherent problem with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS). The problem is that the warning light on the instrument panel does not come on until there is a 25-percent drop in tire pressure. By the time the warning light displays, you and the passengers are in a very unsafe vehicle.

The Association suggests that Security Drivers not rely on the TPMS system to monitor their tires. Most luxury vehicles display individual tire pressures.  Know the recommended vehicle tire pressures, loaded and unloaded. Before picking up the principal, using a tire pressure gauge, look at the individual tire pressures every day to ensure there are no surprises. A while back, the Association did an analysis of a TPMS on a Suburban.

An article on the AAA website titled “When Winter Tires Make Sense” mentioned that Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that about 46 percent of crashes involving bad weather take place in the winter, so any additional protection offered by winter tires are likely worth the investment. So there are geographical locations where knowledge of winter tires is required. Link to the AAA article

When Winter Tires Make Sense


We also, again, recommend Tire Rack for information and knowledge. Their section of snow tires is impressive.


There is another winter topic we hear often  – If I have four-wheel drive,  do I need snow tires? Tire Rack has a great article that will answer that question.


Electric Vehicle Tires

Electric Vehicles (EV’s) are here to stay; as we have mentioned in the past, it is not if – but when – Security Drivers and Secure Transportation Providers will be driving electric vehicles. But in the news recently, there has been a great deal of attention focused on a particular component of the EV that needs to be examined – tires. The tires on an EV are not like the tires on your Suburban. EVs need special tires. ARS Technica published an article called Why do EVs need special tires? This is an excerpt from the article.

EVs Need Special Tires

“The tires for EVs are specially made to handle more weight than internal-combustion vehicles and deliver more torque to the road when vehicles are driving away from a stop. They are also designed to be quieter on the road than their internal combustion counterparts because of the almost-silent electric powertrains in EVs.

Obviously, the four black rubber rings on a car are essential—they’re the only parts that actually interface with the road. But EVs have a few quirks that complicate life for a tire.

For one thing, EVs are generally heavier than an equivalent-sized, conventionally powered vehicle. And because the EV’s driving range is so important to the EV-buying market, low rolling resistance is essential. In fact, a 20 percent increase in rolling resistance can reduce driving range by 5–8 percent. But the tires still need to have plenty of grip because electric motors make so much torque—and from so low in their rev range.” 

New Load Index

Also from the same article:

“We had to introduce a new load index to be able to support the weights of these vehicles. And I think we were the first ones to bring that out with the Lucid,” Coke told me. That’s done by beefing up the sidewall construction and through the use of synthetic textiles (like aramid fibers).

Electric vehicles ask a lot of their tires—here’s why


We also want to point out an article from Motor Trend magazine. The article titled Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for New EV Tires points out that you should not dismiss the tires already on your EV. From the article – 

“Perhaps the biggest misunderstanding people have about cars in general today, and especially electric cars is that tires are just interchangeable Lego-style bits. While it’s true that there are likely several different brands of tire that will fit your car, it’s also true that the tires that came with your car are the ones it was designed to use—often, in the case of EVs, they’re tires that were designed specifically for your car.

It’s not just the tire’s grip, noise, or efficiency that comes into play when it comes to EVs. Still, all three—that’s why tiremakers and carmakers alike often spend a huge amount of development time and money fine-tuning those factors into optimal tire packages for new electric cars.” Link in show notes

Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for New EV Tires

Join the International Security Driver Association

If you have an interest in going much deeper into these types of topics, we invite you to check out the International Security Driver Association’s website and consider joining the only organization dedicated to supporting the advancement of professional Security Drivers and other protection practitioners with data-driven research and other professional development tools.

For more information on all of the member benefits, head over to https://isdacenter.org.

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