A sudden failure of a tire is referred to as a blowout. A blowout occurs when the tire suddenly bursts causing it to quickly loose air pressure and become flat. This deflation often causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle, which can lead to dangerous accidents.
Blowouts are caused by numerous reasons. Lack of proper air pressure, impact with objects, worn out tire treads. Overweight vehicles, using a tire that is not fitted for the vehicle, potholes, and lack of proper tire maintenance can all attribute to a blowout. The risk of blowouts increases during the warmer months. The hotter temperatures between mid-May and early October can push an already weak tire to its breaking point.
The danger involved with a tire blowout becomes high when large trucks are involved. A large truck, semi, or big-rig as they are commonly referred to, is any truck with a weight over 10,000 pounds. Obviously when a truck of this size loses control for any reason the consequences can be disastrous. In 2013 almost 4,000 people were killed and 95,000 were injured in crashes involving large trucks. Of those who lost their lives, 71 percent were occupants of vehicles other than a large truck.
Unfortunately tire blowouts are incredibly common for large trucks. In a 2014 survey conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 6 percent of large truck crashes noted tire problems as a factor.
Rollover Accidents Caused by Large Truck Tire Blowouts
Blowouts are often associated with rollover crashes, as the impact of the blowout combined with the loss of control of the vehicle increases the possibility of the vehicle flipping over. A rollover is defined as an incident when one or more vehicle quarter turns about the longitudinal axis. Simply put, a rollover occurs when a vehicle flips onto its side or roof, and sometimes, in more dangerous collisions, vehicles will continuously flip several times.
Rollovers often occur due to a driver’s miscalculation or mistake. The steering of large trucks is more complex than that of a normal passenger vehicle so the opportunity for error is much higher. Truck drivers frequently fail to observe speed limits on sharp turns, over estimate for a turn, or in an attempt to prevent a rollover they run off the road causing the vehicle to flip. The largest issue is overcorrection; when a driver attempts to correct an error (drifting into another lane or attempting to regain control when a tire bursts) it results in sharp swerves, which triggers a rollover. Although vehicles only roll over in 2 percent of crashes, these accidents account for more than 1/3 of vehicle occupant deaths.
Rollovers have a higher fatality rate than any other type of accident and more than 10,000 people are killed each year due to a rollover. Given the immense weight and size of large trucks, when one is involved in a rollover the results can be deadly. A large truck’s high center of gravity increases the likelihood of a truck overturning if the driver loses control. It is estimated that yearly 9 percent of all large truck crashes involve rollovers.
In 2014 in the state of Illinois, 62 people were killed by a vehicle rollover, 545 people experienced debilitating injuries, and over 2,000 were injured. Imagine driving down the highway with your family one summer day when a large truck a few car lengths ahead blows a tire, the driver loses control and the truck veers into the next lane. In an attempt to regain control the driver overcorrects himself flipping the 12,000 pound vehicle. You watch in horror was the truck rolls across lanes of traffic. You are far enough behind the accident so you are able to pull your car to the side of the road, saving yourself and your family, but others are not so lucky.
Rollovers pose a serious risk to large truck drivers as well. Three hundred large truck drivers were killed in 2014 due to a rollover crash. This accounted for 51 percent of all large truck driver deaths that year. Compared to other types of vehicles – SUVS, pickup trucks, cars – the risk of death to a large truck driver during a rollover is much higher.
How to Prevent Tire Blowouts as a Large Truck Driver
As dangerous rollover accidents can be spurred by a tire blowout one of the best prevention methods to avoid these tragedies is preventing a tire blowout.
The best way to prevent a tire blowout is being vigilant with your tire maintenance. Drivers should always be aware of their vehicle’s recommended tire pressure and load limits. By employing the correct tire size, maintaining the recommended tire inflation pressure, and respecting the vehicle capacity weight of the vehicle blowouts can be prevented. Drivers should remember to check their tire pressure at least once a month to ensure there is no deflation. Drivers should also take note of the tread on their tires; when the tread appears to be worn down or absent it is time to replace your tires. These steps help to maintain strong tires, which will help to preserve tire life avoiding sudden blowouts.
Many large truck corporations also offer safety training to teach drivers how to handle tire blowouts and rollover accidents. Check to see if your employer offers this training or if it is available near you.
Abels and Annes can help those injured due to a tire blowout accident
Drivers of large trucks as well as other travelers on the road can experience the horrific consequences of a large truck tire blowout. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a large truck tire blowout, or a large truck rollover, you may have a claim for your damages. Contact the truck accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442) or locally at (312) 924-7575 for a free, no-obligation telephone conversation. For your convenience we have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day to take your call and discuss you case. Call us now or contact us online and let us help you.
If a tire blowout accident caused you injures, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO for a free case consultation without obligation.