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Road Ranger: Avoidable flat tires often the number one call for driver distress calls

Road Rants

Each week on News Channel 8 Today, Traffic Reporter Meredyth Censullo responds to your questions and concerns about your commute in a series called “Road Rants.” In November, Meredyth asked the men and women who work on the roads for their complaints.

This week, Meredyth is featuring the Road Rangers, the service patrol agency that provides incident management response services and limited no-cost highway assistance to motorists to improve highway safety for emergency responders and the motoring public.  

While distracted, aggressive drivers, and drivers who don’t obey the Move Over Law, are absolutely a concern, there’s something else that the Road Rangers deal with every day, that even the most courteous of drivers can be guilty of. According to logs kept by one Road Ranger, he responds the most to issues caused by drivers who don’t properly care for their cars.

“Tires are the number one issue, absolutely,” says Road Ranger John Cancelli, who currently spends his days patrolling the Selmon Expressway in Tampa.. 

Flat tires sound minor compared to a crash, but any object blocking the road causes a backup. Not to mention, blow-outs can cause crashes. In 2017, 738 motor vehicle traffic fatalities were resulted from tire-related crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Cancelli says a lot of flats are caused because drivers buy used tires. Tires that are past their expiration date are prone to dry rot, especially in Florida. Cancelli also says some drivers refuse to move off the road following a blowout. That’s when he tries to reason with them.

Says Cancelli, “I’ve had drivers say they don’t want to ruin their wheel. I aks, hypothetically, how much would it cost to buy  anew wheel, how much would that cost? Is that price more than the worth of your life?”

Move the vehicle, call *347 (*FHP) and a Road Ranger will arrive to alert drivers to the hazard. If you have a spare, he’ll help change it.

Search for tire recalls by VIN or report a tire safety complaint to NHTSA at this link.

Send Meredyth your Road Rants at or on Facebook.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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