Why are Commercial Tire Blowouts So Dangerous?
Last month, the driver of an 18-wheeler died in Robeson County, North Carolina. According to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, one of the tires allegedly blew out while the truck driver was driving, causing the vehicle to crash. Witnesses to the accident say they saw the truck's tire blow out before it ran off the road and collided with several trees.
This tragic accident demonstrates the serious and often fatal effects of a commercial vehicle's Tire exploding on the highway. Tire blowouts account for over 12,000 semi-truck accidents annually, many causing serious injuries, fatalities, and property damage.
Truck drivers cannot control their trucks when a tire blows out and can collide with drivers, passengers, and smaller vehicles. Generally, when a large commercial vehicle collides with a smaller vehicle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle are more likely to have severe or fatal injuries. Commercial vehicles are so massive that they can easily crush the occupants of smaller vehicles.Causes of Tire Blowouts
Commercial trucks have special tires manufactured to cope with the pressure of 75,000 lb weighing down on them at any given time. At the same time, commercial trucks can be forced to turn for hundreds of miles without stopping. The strain on the tires subjects the rubber to significant wear and tear, making it commercial truck tires right for blowouts. When the air pressure inside the tire continues to build up, the tire can explode. There are multiple reasons commercial truck tires explode, most related to negligent maintenance.Overinflated Truck Tires
When truck tires are overinflated, the heat from the asphalt, hot sun, and friction increases the temperature of the air inside them, causing the air to expand until the rubber stretches beyond its capacity. At this point, the tire may explode.Underinflated Tires
Underinflated tires are also dangerous, especially for commercial vehicles. When a tire is uninflated, it is put under more significant stress. The weight of the cargo load can transfer to the truck's internal components and force the truck to flex past its limit. The heat build-up inside the tires can cause the rubber to crack and explode.Overloaded Cargo
Truck drivers are responsible for ensuring their cargo has been loaded safely. Sometimes, truck drivers load their cargo themselves. In other cases, the trucking company or truck driver will contract another company to load their cargo for them. Whoever is responsible for loading the cargo must ensure that it is securely loaded and tied down to avoid accidents. Overloaded cargo puts added pressure on the tires already under significant pressure. Overloaded trucks can cause even perfectly inflated tires to blow out on the freeway.Extensive Wear and Tear
Truck drivers usually drive at least eight hours daily, putting significant mileage on their vehicles. When carrying heavy loads, the tires of commercial vehicles operate under significant pressure day in and day out. Trucks usually have to drive over potholes and cracked asphalt. Worn-out tires can blow out easily when the air pressure inside them builds up. Truck drivers and trucking companies must regularly inspect and change the tires immediately if worn out. When the tread on tires is worn out, the tires are more likely to explode.Road Hazards
Truckers often face road hazards like potholes and cracked surfaces that can damage their tires. Truck drivers cannot always blame the dangerous road conditions on worn-out tires. Whatever the cause of the worn-out tires, truck drivers have a responsibility to change the tires when they become too unsafe. When truck drivers know they are driving on damaged areas of the road, they meed to take extra caution.How to Recover Compensation After a Truck Accident
When a commercial truck's tires are poorly maintained, the truck driver is likelier to lose control. Flying debris from the exploded tires can hit other vehicles and pedestrians. The truck's cargo may become loose and fall all over the road, causing other drivers to swerve and collide with each other. It can also cause other drivers to panic and make mistakes while driving.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a truck tire exploding, it is important that you reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation through an auto insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Do not hesitate to contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a complimentary case evaluation and learn more about how we can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve.