Large commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers crisscross Georgia at high speeds, and it isn’t surprising to see shredded tires on the side of the highway. Unfortunately, a tire blowout is a very dangerous experience. Trucks need all their tires to work properly, and when one blows, the vehicle can become suddenly unstable. At Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, we have assisted victims of these truck accidents. Often, blowout accidents are preventable, and either the trucker or the trucking company is at fault for the wreck. That means you should be able to request compensation for your injuries with a personal injury claim.
Why Do Tires Blow?
Because their grip is so important, tires should be regularly inspected and replaced. Sadly, some truck companies fail to thoroughly inspect their vehicles, or they cut corners to avoid having to purchase new tires.
Many tires blow because of:
- Excessive tire pressure. Air will expand as it heats, so tires that are already over-inflated are at risk of blowing when the truck travels for hours on hot asphalt.
- Low tire pressure. Conversely, too little pressure is also a problem. Low pressure puts stress on the tire walls and the axle. The stress becomes too much, and the tire will explode.
- Old tires. Tires might have plenty of tread left, but they can become inflexible and brittle after several years. They should be replaced even if they have adequate tread. An old tire can blow when put under stress.
- Overloading. The more weight in a truck, the more force the tires are under. It’s harder to stop a heavier truck, and the tires will bear incredible stress.
- Poor road conditions. Potholes in particular put stress on a tire when a trucker hits them.
- Mismatched tires. It’s a mistake to put different types of tires on a truck, which only increases the strain on them.
- Worn tires. Some tires get worn down to the treads and are at increased risk of explosion because they are so thin.
Often, a tire will blow due to some combination of these factors. For example, an overinflated tire might be under stress and finally blow when the truck hits a pothole.
Why a Blowout is Dangerous
Tires grip the road. Without this grip, a trucker is less able to control the vehicle. It will be harder to slow, stop, make a turn, or change lanes. A truck could become totally unstable when a tire blows.
Even worse, one blowout can automatically transfer more weight and stress to the remaining tires, causing a cascade of blowouts. It’s rare to see only the remains of one tire on the side of the road—there are usually 5 or 6.
When a truck is unmanageable, there is increased risk of:
- Jackknife accidents: The trailer might swing to the side and plow into other cars on the freeway.
- Override accidents: The trucker might be unable to stop the truck. Consequently, it rides over a smaller vehicle up ahead or in the adjacent lane.
- Head on collisions. A truck could jump across the center line and mow down cars coming straight at it.
- Rollovers: If the truck is unsteady, then cargo can shift in the trailer, increasing the lack of balance. The truck can flop onto its side and crush anyone near it.
Preventing Tire Blowouts
Both truckers and the vehicle’s owner can take sensible steps to prevent tire blowouts. These are usually preventable accidents.
For example, the trucking company can regularly inspect tires and replace any that are too old or worn. Unfortunately, buying new tires is expensive, and many companies decide to risk public safety by sending trucks with old tires out onto the road. Anything to avoid cutting into profits.
Truckers can also check the tire pressure to make sure the tires are not over- or under-inflated and take any action to make sure the pressure is at a proper level.
Truckers should also drive in such a way to reduce the risk of a blowout. For example, they should speed, and they can try to avoid potholes and other road hazards.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules in place governing the inspection and maintenance of tires. This agency realizes that tire safety is critical to public safety. When tires blow, individuals get hurt—and the FMCSA is dedicated to protecting your health.
Some of the rules require:
- Truckers and trucking companies must regularly inspect their trucks—including the tires—on a schedule specified by the agency.
- Truckers must inspect their truck before driving. This inspection includes identifying needed repairs and refusing to take a rig on the road that looks dangerous.
- Truckers must perform an inspection after their trip and create a report identifying needed repairs.
- Truckers should inspect their trucks (including tires) at the end of each day and not drive if the tires are likely to cause an accident.
- Trucking companies must maintain and repair their tires.
Furthermore, trucking companies should not let a truck be driven if It is likely to cause an accident.
How We Can Help
If you were injured in a truck blowout accident, please call our law firm. Our lawyers can review the facts to determine whether the trucker and/or trucking company bears responsibility. If they did not perform necessary inspections—or if they knew a tire was dangerous but drove the truck anyway—you can sue for compensation.
Our clients benefit from our investigatory skills. You might have no idea what happened—and that’s okay. Call an experienced law firm. We can inspect the truck, request company records, and protect your rights. We can also negotiate a settlement to cover your medical bills, car damage, income loss, and pain and suffering.
Reach Out to Arrange a Free Consultation with a Lawyer
Truck collisions leave hundreds of Georgians badly injured and disfigured each year. Take control of the situation by contacting one of the most experienced personal injury law firms around. You can schedule a consultation by calling us today at (404) 529-3476.