It's a familiar sight on the side of the highway (or sometimes right in the middle of the lane) – chunks of tire from an 18-wheeler's blowout. Blowouts from a truck can cause a hazard for other drivers by scattering debris across the road. They also cause dangerous situations for the truckers themselves by making it difficult to steer their rig to safety.
A tire blowout can happen at any time. These aren't just flat tires, but an abrupt bursting or rupture of a tire while the truck is traveling at a high speed. This sudden explosion can cause the driver to momentarily lose control of their vehicle, but even a moment is enough to cause a serious truck accident with major injuries for innocent drivers.
Reasons for truck tire blowouts
Large commercial trucks have 18 wheels. There are many conditions that could cause one of these 18 wheels to blow out. Some of the most common causes of blowouts include:
- Overheating. High temperatures inside a tire can cause the pressure inside to increase and the tire can expand and burst.
- Improper tire inflation. Overinflated tires can become weak and therefore more prone to blowouts.
- Old, damaged, or defective tires. Old tires can be structurally weak and suddenly blow out. Damaged tires may be cracked in the seams, and increased pressure could cause them to burst or rupture.
- Tires coming off the rim. Tires can suddenly come off the rim in a situation called “demounting.”
- Inadequate or improper maintenance. The driver or maintenance crew should regularly inspect the truck's tires to ensure they're in good working condition.
Hazards of truck tire blowouts
As we said earlier, when a big rig has a tire blowout, the driver may have a hard time controlling their vehicle. Here's why. Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This makes them difficult to stop under the best of circumstances, much less in an emergency situation. Even with a skilled trucker behind the wheel, after a blowout, the truck might swerve, or in the worst cases, even jackknife or roll over.
Other drivers on the road are then put in danger—they may also have to swerve to get out of the way of the truck, or out of the way of a flying chunk of tire. Even a small piece of tire can cause a serious accident if it hits another vehicle.
In an effort to improve safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a comprehensive Large Truck Crash Causation Study to understand why semi-truck crashes occur. The FMCSA reviewed about 142,000 serious truck accidents that resulted in injuries or fatalities. They determined that 8,000 of these accidents were primarily caused by truck tire blowouts.
Truck and 18-wheeler accidents can be devastating because of their size, and often involve more than one vehicle. If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages. Talk to the truck accident lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law for skilled representation. Please call 877-686-8879, or fill out our contact form, to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers in Kentucky or Ohio.