Truck Tire Blowouts: What Are They And How Do They Happen?

If you have ever driven on the highway, you have most likely seen fragments of tires on the sides of the roads.  The scattered pieces are the result of a what’s called a tire “blowout.” When a tire blows out, the tire rapidly loses air, which causes it to explode. Oftentimes, this instability leads a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle.  Unfortunately, every year tire blowout is one of the leading causes of truck crashes in America. According to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tire blowouts are estimated to cause more than 11,000 crashes a year and more than 200 deaths.


Why Are Tire Blowouts Dangerous?

The most obvious reason is that it creates instability in the vehicle. Though truck drivers are trained how to recover from a tire blowout, the impact of tire blowouts is often unpredictable. A perfectly trained driver can still easily lose control of his vehicle after a vehicle. The second reason truck blowouts are so dangerous is because they’re typically unexpected and abrupt. Many driving hazards can be identified prior to the hazard being a huge safety risk. For example, if a truck driver is driving defensively, he may notice that traffic has halted to a stop ahead. This early identification of the hazard allows the driver to began to brake with plenty of time to stop. On the other hand, most blowups aren’t predictable. Therefore, a driver will be driving along the roadway when “BOOM!” The driver has been thrust into an immediate perilous situation and must adapt on the fly. 

What Causes Tire Blowouts?

There are many different reasons that a tire may blow. Here are some of the most common causes of truck tire blowouts: 

Improper Maintenance

An overinflated tire can cause the tread to wear down fast in the center of the tire whereas an under-inflated tire causes the tread to wear down quickly on the sides.  Both reduce the lifespan of the tire considerably faster than if the tire was inflated properly.  Either air imbalance makes the tire more susceptible to blowouts.  It is important to have tires properly inflated.  

Overloaded Trailer

An overloaded trailer can cause excessive wear and tear on tires and brakes, causing them to fail without warning.  A loaded trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and so it is crucial to have properly inflated tires that have minimal wear and good treads.

Roadway Hazards

If a tire were to hit a pothole or some roadway debris, the integrity of the tire would be damaged.  The impact between the tire and the roadway hazard can cause the tire’s internals to be pinched, and, if hit hard enough, the rubber and fabric to be cut through completely.

Unnoticed Small Tire Leaks

Sometimes a seemingly small tire leak can lead to a dangerous blowout. The slow release of air slowly weakens the tire until it inevitably and suddenly fails.
Although preventing tire blowouts is not always possible, the chances of them occurring can be reduced if tire maintenance is up kept.  Checking on tire conditions often makes it more likely problems could be caught early. It is important for every truck driver to include a detailed review of the truck’s tire conditions as part of the pre-trip inspection. 
If you are injured in a trucking-related injury, please feel free to call Shannon Law Group to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.