Dangers of Truck Tire Blowouts
Whether or not you’ve seen a tire burst in person, you’ve likely seen the chunks of rubber lining the freeways up and down California. We’re still in the heart of truck tire blowout season, which lasts from mid-May through early October. During these months, the warm weather heats up tires on every vehicle, and increases the chance an existing fault leads to catastrophic failure. These tires are relied on by truck drivers across the United States to help them transport goods and keep our shelves stocked, but require constant maintenance and inspections to make sure that they don’t fail and cause a serious crash. While tire companies closely guard their detailed statistics on causes of blowouts, they have identified several warning signs and risk factors.
- Overloaded Vehicles: 18 wheelers, the largest trucks on the road, have a weight limit of 80,000 pounds. Overloading one of these trucks past the limit, even with perfect tires, increases the risk of a catastrophic failure. Some drivers may inflate their tires to the maximum allowed psi in order to squeeze in a few extra pounds of cargo. Combine the already stressed tires with excessive weight and the hot summer sun, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.
- Overinflated Tires: Trucks may be able to manage more cargo with an overinflated tire, but it also puts added pressure on the internal components – the composites, fabric, rubber, steel, etc. If the driver doesn’t pay close attention to the tire’s psi, the hot sun and asphalt can cause the air in the tires to expand past the allowed limit, and potentially burst.
- Underinflated Tires: Warm temperatures may cause gas to expand, but under inflation can put even more stress on the tires and their internal components. Whether the tire has a small leak, was intentionally kept at a low psi, dropped in pressure as the cooler nighttime temperatures caused the gas to contract, or some other reason, an underinflated tire causes the internal components to flex past their recommended levels. The stress put on them as they continue to flex while still supporting an 80,000 pound truck can easily lead to catastrophic failure.
- Road Conditions: Road hazards like potholes and cracked roads cause damage to tires over time, and truckers drive an average of 2,000 to 3,000 miles every week, or up to about 150,000 miles per year. That’s a lot of ground to cover, and far too much of it takes place on potentially damaged roadways. The more road hazards these tires get beat up by, the closer they get to bursting.
- Wear and Tear: Even if the driver avoids every single road hazard, it doesn’t change the fact that he or she is putting thousands of miles of wear and tear on the tires every single week. Truck tires are designed to be incredibly resilient, but if the driver doesn’t pay close attention, over time the tires will wear down and eventually fail.
Whether the burst tire causes the truck to completely lose control or if it only causes it to swerve for a moment, if it happens at the wrong moment a tire blowout can lead to a catastrophic crash. If you or someone you love was involved in a truck collision, contact The McClellan Law Firm today. Our San Diego truck accident attorneys are widely recognized for their successes securing multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for our clients, and we continue to dedicate ourselves to protecting the rights of everyone we represent. Fill out the form on our website to begin your free consultation process, or call us at (619) 215-1488 to speak with one of our truck accident lawyers.