BOWIE, MD - The Tire Industry Association (TIA) offers these five tips to promote safe driving this summer.

1.  Use the "penny test" to check for minimum tread depth. The old test still works -- place a penny in a major tread groove of a tire with Lincoln's head facing down. If the top of Lincoln's head is visible at any point in any major tread groove, it's a good sign that the tire needs to be replaced. 

 2.  Perform a visual inspection and check tire pressure every month. Look for any cracking or irregular wear, and make sure all tires are properly inflated. Drivers should check the owner's manual or the placard on the inside of the driver-side door to determine the correct inflation, and always check the pressure first thing in the morning, when tires are "cold." 

3.  Inspect your spare tire. Many people forget to regularly check the condition of their spare tire (including the inflation pressure) until one of their main tires is not working, and then it's too late. 

4.  Rotate tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. Rotating tires on this regular basis is one of the best ways to get the maximum life out of your tires. 

5.  If your tire is punctured, make sure the person who is repairing it performs the repairs off the wheel. The only proper way to repair tire damage is to remove the tire from the wheel. On-the-wheel repairs are dangerous, because there may be more damage to the tire than what is visible when it is on the wheel.

"People often forget to check their tires before they head out on that summer road trip, but ensuring that your tires are in proper working order can mean the difference between a happy, memorable holiday and an unpleasant and even tragic one. That's why it's imperative to keep these tips in mind," said TIA Senior Vice President of Training Kevin Rohlwing. "And, these tips are good throughout the year; not just in the summer months."