* Re "Higher Speeds, Other Road Trends Can Strain Tires to Breaking Point," Dec. 18: There might be another reason for blowouts in SUVs over the last few years besides higher highway speeds, longer tread life warranties and the top-heavy design of the SUV.
SUVs are used in a variety of ways. They haul and tow heavy loads and serve as a bus for families, which takes its toll on the tires. But I believe many are taken off-road in areas that can scuff and scrape the tire tread, sidewall and the undercarriage of the vehicle. This certainly will reduce the tread life of the tire but can also put the passengers at risk when the unstable vehicle is presented with an emergency situation. I am not sure how many people monitor their tire pressure, check for tire wear or even consider purchasing upgraded tires (with longer wear and higher temperature ratings).