Spanish soccer star Jose Antonio Reyes was speeding at 147 mph when his car crashed on Saturday, local media reported.
Reyes and his cousin were killed in the fiery crash on a highway outside of Seville, while another cousin was severely injured.
According to Mundo Deportivo, a police report on the accident said that Reyes hadn’t driven the high performance Brabus Mercedes-Benz S550 in some time and that it suffered a blowout that was likely due to low tire pressure. An initial investigation suggests that the car lost control, hit some concrete blocks, rolled off the road and caught fire, finally coming to rest 200 meters from the highway.
It is not yet known if the tire had the incorrect air pressure when Reyes set off for his drive, or if it suffered a puncture along the way, but the incident highlights the dangers posed by a tire that’s low on air.
Tire Rack product information specialist Woody Rogers tells Fox News Autos the issue is especially problematic at high speeds, because an underinflated tire generates more heat. In fact, some tires can require 7.5 pounds more pressure than recommended for normal driving to work properly at 149 mph.
“When a tire is underinflated, the sidewalls flex farther than intended,” Rogers said.
“When this happens, temperature quickly begins to rise. At the same time, the rubber and fabric components in the sidewall are being flexed and stretched too far, which begins to damage the materials and eventually (or quickly) leads to failure and separation of the components. Once that happens, the tire will quickly fail.”
Even if Reyes hadn’t suffered a puncture, tires can lose 1 psi per month through normal seepage, and a typical tire pressure monitoring system might not set off an alert until they are 20 percent low.
“Summertime heat, road trips with fully and sometimes overloaded vehicles all put significant stress on tires. The best way to make sure tires survive the drive is proper inflation pressure. And the best way to do that is to check and re-adjust at least once a month, and before any road trip. It just takes a few minutes,” Rogers said.