Years ago you wouldn't dare drive anywhere without a spare tire. Back in the 50's when I first started to drive you needed a couple of sets of tires on hand. Summer tires and winter tires and, if you got 25,000 miles out of them you were lucky. Back in the early years of the automobile if you could get 50 miles without a flat tire it was a mile stone. Cars had spare tires and rims on both sides of the vehicle.
So How About Today?
In 2007, tire-related issues caused nearly 1 million motorists to require roadside assistance during the months of June, July and August according to Road & Travel Magazine. That equates to roughly 4 million "reported" tire related issues each year. There are probably many more that go unreported.
But, let's compare carrying around that bulky spare tire for protection against flat tire inconvenience versus carrying around a spare bumper for rear end collision damage.
Typically there are about 2 million rear end collisions each year. Obviously, there are at least two vehicles per rear end collision so you end up damaging a minimum of 4 million vehicles - about the same number of vehicles that reported tire related issues. The National Transportation Safety Administration estimates that there are at least twice a many rear end collisions that go "unreported". So if we assume there about the same number of unreported flat tires then both of these incidents have about the same probability.
But when you consider the other types of accidents that can damage the rear of your vehicle - like backing accidents (an estimated 3 million) then the scale starts leaning more towards carrying a spare bumper for protecting your rear rather than a spare tire for fixing that flat tire. And, if you factor in the most frequent vehicle accident - getting hit while parked, the scale is tipped even further. For instance, your vehicle is twice as likely to get hit while parked then be involved in a rear end collision. So that's equal to an estimated 8 million vehicles hit while parked - and we'll assume 4 million in the front and 4 million in the rear.
So What's The Conclusion?
You're two to 3 times as likely to get into a rear end collision, backing accident or get hit in the rear while parked than you are to have a flat tire. So why are we carrying around a spare tire. We really need to be carrying around a spare bumper.
But Is There Such A Thing As A Spare Bumper?
Well, if you have a receiver hitch that's found on most pickup trucks and SUVs then you're in luck. There are crash tested, energy absorbing spare bumpers out on the market today that will eliminate a lot of the damage caused by the rear end collision, getting hit while parked and self inflicted backing damage - for about the same price as a spare tire.
So if you want to save some gas, throw away your 50 pound spare tire and replace it with a 16 pound spare bumper. But, if you're safety conscious enough to carry a spare tire then you really need to consider a spare bumper. It will be used at least three times as much as that bulky old spare tire to ward off all the weirdo's, losers and lunatics out there trying to wreck your vehicle, steal your deductible, cripple your family and jeopardize your insurance.
Jeff is CEO of Mohr Mfg is an expert in rear end collisions. His company makes portable, energy absorbing, spare safety bumpers or "hitch steps" that install in seconds and protect your vehicle from rear-end collision damage, reduce whiplash injuries, shield your gas tank from under-ride and eliminate parking lot and parallel parking dents and dings. For additional information: http://www.superbumper.com