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Common Causes of Truck Accidents: Tire Blowouts

Though collisions with large trucks are less common than accidents with other passenger vehicles, the mortality rate increases dramatically. This is because the sheer size and weight difference between a standard car and a standard commercial truck weighing in at about 20 times the weight of a car. This, inevitably, makes all the difference in the outcome. What can further exacerbate the situation is a tire blowout on a large commercial truck, like an 18-wheeler. When something goes wrong with a vehicle that is that big, and is moving that fast, it can have absolutely devastating consequences.

You say, “oh, but that does not happen very often.” Well, how often do you see 18-wheelers pulled over on the side of the road fixing a tire? Drive on the interstate for a little while and you’re bound to see one pulled over. Better yet, drive on the interstate and look at all the pieces of tire you see littering the sides of the highway: many of those full strips you see came from big rigs unraveling a full tire while driving down the highway. The truth is, it happens, and when it happens, it can be a very dangerous and difficult situation for any driver to handle.

In fact, one of the leading causes of truck accidents are tire blowouts. A blowout may cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle and become a hazard to the highway.

There are several factors that play a role in a tire blowout, such as improper maintenance, tire defects, overloaded trailers, poor road conditions, and what we find most often is a combination of the above.

Improper Maintenance:

Low air pressure is a major cause of tire blowouts. Though warning lights are often installed to alert the driver when air pressure falls below prescribed levels, sometimes the warning lights do not go off. This is a products liability issues and you can go after the manufacturer of that warning light. However, in most cases, the driver saw the warning light and failed to take the necessary steps to correct the issue.

Other instances where the big rig driver has failed to maintenance the tire is where they failed to perform routine maintenance on the tires, such as balance and rotation. These issues can lead to improper tire wear and lead to an eventual blowout.

Tire Defects:

Tire defects are also leading causes of blowouts. The most common tired defect is tread separation. Tread separation can either be a design defect that makes the tire more dangerous, or a manufacturing defect that is specific to that tire.

Tread separation occurs where the treads literally separate. Tread separation is also called “tire delamination”.  This happens where a large strip of tread (and sometimes accompanying smaller pieces) separate from the tire while in use.  A delamination will significantly decrease a driver’s ability to control the vehicle and may result in a collision or rollover.

Possible causes of tread separation is substandard tire materials, defective manufacturing, and defective installation. these avenues must be pursued to determine liability in such a situation.

Overloaded Trailers:

Overloaded trailers cause or exacerbate issues described above. Not only do they make the trailer much harder to control, especially against wind gusts and wet roads, but they also put additional weight on the tires that the tires may not be able to handle. If the driver has failed to maintain the tires properly, or the tires are defective in some way, then those tires may just give way. If they do, you’ve got an overloaded trailer that has just become much harder to control.

Poor Road Conditions:

Poor road conditions can be defined as any given situation that presents an additional obstacle to the driver’s ability to get from point A to point B. Weather conditions are the typical cause of poor road conditions, such as heavy rain, wet roads, snow, ice, fog, or any combination of the above. However road conditions also include the speed of traffic, the amount of traffic on the roads, the time of day, etc.. Road conditions must be weighed by the totality of the circumstances: How was the weather? Were the roads wet, icy? Traffic? How fast was traffic flowing? Once you determine the conditions of the road, then you can determine whether road conditions were a factor in the blowout of the tire. Many tire blowouts occur on hot roads, in the middle of summer, in the middle to late afternoon. That is a combination for maximum heat on the tire which can result in a maximum wear on the tire. This can make the tire’s defects or improper maintenance and exacerbate the issue to the point where the tire actually explodes.

How Guest and Gray Can Help:

If you have been in a trucking accident, it will not take long to find out that getting the compensation you deserve can be a headache. Truck drivers and trucking companies take their sweet time concluding settlements because they are trying to shift the blame between themselves, you, a parts or tire manufacturer, and how trying to figure out how much their insurance company is going to pay out. Here at Guest and Gray, our truck accident lawyers in have the experience you need to get the compensation you deserve. We can determine an aggressive and effective strategy for your case, and we will keep you up to date on the whole process. We are here for you, not the case. Getting you what you deserve is what drives our firm to do what we do.

In addition to our ability to pursue trucking claims, we are experienced defense attorneys and if you are a truck driver or trucking company, we encourage you to give us a call because we may be able to help you investigate your case, determine proper compensation, and defend you in court to the fullest extent of the law. Give us a call. You will be glad you did.