How Are Accidents Caused by Tire Blowouts and How Can You Avoid Them?
Tires are one of the most important parts of a vehicle, but often one of the most ignored. They require regular maintenance and replacement, but many drivers ignore those facts until they are too late. In 2017 alone, 738 traffic fatalities could be tied back to a tire blowout accident. Lives can be saved and injuries can be avoided when drivers are aware of the best ways to maintain their vehicles.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only 19 percent of consumers inflate and check their tires properly. Statistics also show that 25 percent of cars have at least one significantly underinflated tire on a regular basis. Consumers can save money by caring properly for tires, as underinflated tires can reduce gas mileage and inflating them properly can save you up to 11 cents per gallon.
What Causes a Tire to Blow Out?
Tire-related traffic accidents can be catastrophic because they often occur on the highways or interstates and regularly involve big rig trucks. Injuries are common in these accidents and drivers are safer when they understand what they can do to not only stop their own tires from blowing out, but also how to watch for other drivers who may be on the verge of causing an accident.
The term blow-out is used when a tire bursts and there is a rapid loss of pressure. The top causes of tire blow-outs are:
- Under-inflation: Tires flex more in the sidewall when they are under-inflated, which can cause them to heat up more than normal. The problem is exacerbated when the tire is running during hot weather or at highway speed for to long. As the tire warms up, the rubber degrades which can lead to tread separation or a ruptured sidewall.
- Mechanical issues that cause irregular or rapid wear: Worn or misaligned suspension parts can also cause a tire to wear unevenly. The tire may be completely worn on one side and fine on the other, making the worn area most susceptible to damage.
- Road hazards: If you are driving at highway speeds and hit something in the road or run over a pothole, your tire absorbs most of the impact. If it hits hard enough, it may cause the tire to blow and lead to an accident.
While road hazards often can’t be avoided, there are certain steps you can take to care for your tires and avoid problems. This will not only help avoid accidents, but also save you money in the long run.
Tips for Tire Maintenance
Avoiding a tire blowout accident is about more than just choosing the right tires. Once you have safe, recommended tires for your car, it’s important to maintain them. We have a few tips to help you stay safe on the road and avoid an accident.
- Rotate tires every 5-7 thousand miles to ensure that the tread wears evenly and they all stay in similar shape.
- Check your tire pressure regularly, at least once a month. If you are going on a long road trip, check the pressure first. Always do it in the morning because the pressure is stabilized and cool.
- Check the depth of the tire tread regularly to ensure you have good traction when roads are wet. You can do this by inserting a quarter upside down into the groove of the tire. It’s time to buy new tires if you can see over Washington’s head.
- New tires should always go on the back axle to help drivers stay in control on wet roads. The car will spin if you lose traction in the rear whether your car is all-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive.
Surprisingly enough, manufacturer defect is rarely responsible for tire blowouts. This puts the responsibility mostly on the consumer to make sure their tires are safe to be driven on the road. Remember that even if you care for your car properly and follow these tips, there are others on the road who may not. It’s important to drive defensively and be aware of other drivers in case they blow out a tire and you have to react instantly to avoid an accident.
What Happen if Your Tire Blows Out?
Despite your best intentions and all your hard work, you may still have a tire blowout in your life. It’s important to know how to handle it immediately so you can minimize the damage to your vehicle and the rest of the drivers on the road.
Depending on your situation, you may hear three different sounds when a tire blows out. You could hear a bang or loud boom as the tire pops, a whooshing sound as the air leaves the tires or a flopping or flapping of a deflated tire as it hits the road. When a tire explodes, the vehicle will automatically slow down and pull toward the side where the tire burst. When front tires burst, the force is felt mostly in the steering, while a rear tire bursting will be more noticeable in the body or seat of your car. Whether your tire blows out in the back or front, the recommended response is the same.
- Always maintain a good distance between your vehicle and the car ahead of you in case of an emergency.
- Firmly grip the steering wheel and don’t let go.
- Never slam on your brakes.
- Slow the car down gradually.
- Once you are at a safe speed, pull your vehicle to the side of the road.
- Active your emergency lights or hazards so other drivers are aware of your vehicle on the side of the road.
Once you are out of the vehicle, place emergency triangles or cones if you have them. If you are not in a safe space to change the tire, you will need to call roadside assistance for help.
What Should You Do if a Tire Blowout Causes an Accident?
One of the most important ways to avoid all types of accidents, including tire blowouts, is to practice safe driving. Always drive the speed limit and don’t get too close to the car in front of you. If there is not adequate space between you and another vehicle and their tire blows, it is likely to cause an accident, which can result in injuries, property damage and sometimes even death.
Proper planning, practice and regular maintenance decreases your chances of being involved in an accident caused by a blowout. This does not mean that you are safe from the poor decisions of others or situations outside of your control. Even if you properly care for your car and tires, there are plenty of situations where the accident is out of your hands, and you may be injured. If this is the case and another driver was at fault, it’s important to call a personal injury attorney immediately to determine the best way to move forward.
After any accident, you should be checked by a medical professional, even if you don’t seem to have any immediate injuries. This ensures that there is proper documentation of the accident and helps if you need compensation down the road to pay for your medical bills.
If you have been injured in a Palm Beach County car accident, I encourage you to contact me, Brian D. Guralnick, personally to discuss your legal rights. To learn how the injury team at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers can help you Demand More® for your injuries, call (561) 513-4957 now.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. If you need advice on specific legal issues, please consult with a licensed Personal Injury attorney.