Q: What can cause a truck tire to blowout?
It’s the beginning of another long day. You’re about halfway through your haul from Savannah to Pittsburgh, but yesterday you had to stop in D.C. for a short break. Now, you’re making your way to 270 through Rockville. However, for the past 20 miles or so, the back of your rig has felt jerky and you’ve had to really overcompensate to keep control. You were just about to pull over into a truck stop, when all of a sudden you heard, felt, and saw a massive explosion from the truck’s back end.
It took all of your strength and focus to keep your rig on the road and not topple over. Thankfully, after what felt like a lifetime of swerving and jerking, you managed to safely pull it off the highway. After catching your breath, you jump out of the truck and walk to the back to inspect the damage. You see that an entire tire is missing and one of your rims is bent. You look around and see what looks like pieces of the missing tire, spread over about a mile of open highway.
What could have happened?
Five Reasons a Truck Tire Can Blow
Over the past decade, the National Automotive Sampling System - Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS) has collected extensive data pertaining to tire blowout accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Their data shows that an estimated 25,000 truck tow-away crashes resulted from blown out or flat tires. Although these incidents make up only .05 percent of all traffic-related crashes, 25,000 accidents is still a devastatingly high number, considering that the cause of 90 percent of the accidents could be avoided with proper maintenance, care, and observation.
The five most common (and ironically preventable) reasons behind tire blowouts are as follows:
- Too much air pressure. When a tire is filled with too much air, the structural integrity becomes compromised. Too much air causes the rubber to bow out, stretch, and weaken, while also expanding the amount of surface area that comes in contact with the road. Even small punctures can cause the excess air to force its way out—causing an explosive blowout.
- Zipper failure. Cracks, ruptures, or weaknesses in a seam can cause air pressure to rapidly reduce within the tire. The air is forcibly released through the defect or failure, consequently causing an explosion or blow out.
- Demounting. When the tire suddenly comes off the rim, releasing the air pressure within the tire itself it is referred to as demounting.
- Structural weakness or poor maintenance. Old, overly used, or damaged tires can easily become too stressed and can cause the air pressure to suddenly be released.
- Overheating. When the temperature inside a tire increases, the air inside the tire increases as well, and expands. This increase in pressure continues as long as the temperature rises, until the tire bursts or comes off the rim.
When driving a truck, don’t put yourself in needless danger. Before setting out on a long haul, check your tires for any irregularities, punctures, weak spots, or pressure problems. When you stop for a break or to rest for the night, check the pressure again to make sure you’re not losing air. You can never be too careful, or overly cautious when it comes to driving a truck. Remember—you’re responsible for 80,000 pounds worth of machinery, and if you lose control of that immense rig, you could wind up also being responsible for dozens of injuries, damages, and even fatalities, all because of a weak tire. Don’t risk it. Check your rig before, during, and after long hauls to help prevent tire blowout accidents.
If you’ve recently been injured in a blowout collision and need help with your injury claim, contact us today. Our knowledge and eagerness to fight for you will help show you why having an experienced lawyer is the first step to getting the settlement you deserve. Call now for a free consultation.
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