Tire Blowouts Can Cause Major Big Rig Accidents
As a nation that relies heavily on trucks, big rigs, 18-wheelers, and semi-trucks to transport inland freight, tire blowouts are common on America’s highways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire blowouts account for more than 12,000 truck accidents annually, many of them causing injuries and fatalities, not to mention property damage. If you are injured as result of a truck tire blowup, talk to experienced big rig accident attorneys immediately.
Causes of tire blowouts
On average, truck tires have a pressure of 75,000 lbs. weighing down on them at any given time. At the same time, they are forced to turn for hundreds of miles without stopping. The tremendous strain subjects the rubber to a lot of wear and tear, making it ripe for a blowout. When the air pressure inside the tire builds up, the tire can explode.
Tire blowups can happen due the following reasons:
- Overinflated tires: When tires are overinflated, the heat from the hot sun, asphalt, and friction raises the temperature of the air inside them, causing the air to expand until the rubber stretches beyond its limit and gives way with an explosion.
- Underinflated tires: Underinflated tires are put under even more stress, transferring the weight of the load to their internal components and forcing them to flex past their limit. At the same time, the heat buildup inside the tires causes the rubber to crack and explode.
- Overloaded vehicles: Overloading is a common problem in the trucking industry. Overloading puts added pressure on tires that are already under tremendous pressure, causing even perfect tires to blowout.
- Wear and tear: Truck tires operate under tremendous pressure day in and day out. Quite often, they have to run cracked and pothole-filled roads. All these combine to put them through a lot of wear and tear over time. A worn out tire can easily blowout when the air pressure inside it builds up.
- Road hazards: Roads cannot be expected to be smooth and shiny everywhere. Truckers often have to face road hazards like cracked road surfaces and potholes, which can tear and damage the tires over time. Damaged tires can easily blow up under extra weight or heat.
Consequences of tire blowups
Tire blowouts are not like a flat tire. They can be extremely dangerous – to both the truck and to other vehicles near the truck. Not only can they cause the truck to become unstable and go out of control and collide into other vehicles, but flying fragments of exploded tires can also imperil the lives of the people in vehicles and pedestrians.
The main consequences of a tire blowup are as follows:
- Truck driver may lose control: The force of the explosion along with the instability of the trailer when having to balance on the suddenly uneven tires may cause the truck driver to swerve and lose control and even tip over. The result, as you can imagine, can be catastrophic.
- Flying tire debris may hit other vehicles and pedestrians: When a tire blows out, the force of explosion rips the tire apart, sending large and small chunks of rubber flying in every direction. If there are other vehicles and pedestrians in the path of the flying debris, the result can be deadly.
- The cargo may become loose: The trailer may open and release the cargo all over the road, creating hazards for other vehicles.
- It may cause other drivers to panic: Truck tire blowups are usually very loud, which is enough to frighten many people. Seeing the truck go out of control after that may cause panic among other drivers and may cause them to swerve, brake, or speed up irrationally, further adding to the chaos.
The only way to prevent tire blowups is proper maintenance. Trucking companies must maintain a regular maintenance schedule and ensure that their vehicles fulfill all safety requirements at all times. If you or a loved one is injured in a truck tire blowup, contact big rig accident attorneys immediately to find out how you can get compensated.