Understanding the Causes Behind Frequent Truck Tire Blowouts

It is a common sight on Interstate-81: shredded tires on the side of the road. Given their size, you can tell these tires came from large trucks, 18-wheelers in particular. What could cause a tire of that size to explode?

At Correll Law Firm, our Winchester truck accident lawyer has asked that question many times. He has seen the results of blown tires: unstable commercial trucks suddenly crashing into smaller cars when the trucker loses control of the rig, and badly injured people getting loaded into the back of an ambulance. Please contact our law firm to speak with us about your accident. Below, our lawyer identifies the key reasons why tires explode and how you can build a case for compensation.

Underinflation is a Main Cause of Tire Blowouts

Naturally, many people assume that tires explode because they are overinflated. And sometimes that’s the case. While a truck is in motion, the air in the tires will expand due to heat, and an already overinflated tire could soon explode.

But underinflation is a more pressing concern. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that most blowouts are caused by underinflation. When a tire doesn’t have sufficient air, more pressure and stress are put on the walls of the tire, eventually causing the tire to fail. For this reason, truckers should pay close attention to the pressure in their tires and adjust accordingly during their haul.

Old Tires Are Also a Problem

Using old tires is another cause of blowouts. A tire is made up of many parts, but the rubber in the tire can become cracked with age. Think of an old rubber band you find at the bottom of your junk drawer. When new, a rubber band stretches easily. But after a decade, the band is cracked and inflexible, probably coming apart when you attempt to stretch it. Rubber in an old tire is somewhat like that. It will crack open when too much pressure is put on it.

Some trucking companies recycle tires or pull old ones off other trucks to use. It isn’t surprising when a tire ends up blowing.

Overloaded Trailers Lead to Blowouts

Government regulations limit the amount of freight a truck can carry in the trailer. Unfortunately, some companies overload the trailer. Their reasoning is simple: the more freight they can haul, the more they can make with each trip.

Sadly, an overloaded trailer puts greater strain on all parts of a truck, including the tires. This is an avoidable accident if trucking companies simply followed the regulations adopted for public safety.

Overloaded trailers are a risk for other accidents, including jackknifes and rollovers. For this reason, our Winchester truck accident lawyer tries to find the freight manifest for any truck involved in a collision with our firm’s clients.

A Truck Can Become Unmanageable

Tires are not ornamental. They serve an essential function, which is to grip the road while a truck is in motion. When a tire blows, a truck can suddenly become uncontrollable, often jumping into the next lane and crashing into other vehicles. The large, shredded pieces of tire could also get flung into adjacent lanes, causing other motorists to swerve defensive. This is a good way to start a chain reaction collision involving dozens of vehicles.

Even worse, one blown tire suddenly puts additional stress on the remaining tires, which increases risk of failure. This is one reason why we see so many shredded tire carcasses on the shoulder. Hopefully, a careful trucker will notice the first blown tire and bring the rig to a stop before problems snowball.

Responsibility for Blown Tire Accidents

Some accidents are truly that—completely accidental and not the fault of anyone. Maybe a truck rolled over some nails in the road, which caused the tire to blow. In that case, whoever put the nails in the road is to blame, but we probably will never identify them.

Conversely, some blown tire accidents are the fault of the trucker, who should check the air pressure in the tires before heading out on a trip. Truckers are not supposed to drive a vehicle if it is a danger for getting into an accident, so they should add more air to underinflated tires.

Other blown tire accidents are the fault of the trucking company. They must inspect their trucks according to a schedule to comply with the law. Trucking companies should also avoid using old tires on their trucks, and they should prevent the trailer from being overloaded.

If our law firm can identify fault, we can bring a lawsuit against the trucker and usually the trucking company. Our firm will seek compensation for all damages caused by the crash, including car repair, medical records, and lost income, as well as pain and suffering.

How We Help

Our Winchester truck accident lawyer can investigate any collision to identify fault. After a wreck, you should take pictures of your vehicle, as well as the truck which hit you or forced you off the road. Your pictures will probably show quite clearly whether a tire blew on the truck. The question then becomes identifying what caused the blow out.

Other evidence in these cases includes witnesses who saw the tire blow, and a police report, which will probably also mention a blown tire.

Our firm can help collect:

  • Truck maintenance records. We want to see if the company performed regular maintenance on their vehicles, as required by law.
  • Daily Vehicle Inspection Reports. Truckers should perform a pre-trip inspection before starting their haul and submit a DVIR every day. Perhaps the trucker ignored this step or noted problems with the tires but drove anyway.
  • Freight records. If the trailer was overloaded, we can check the manifests to see how much cargo the truck was carrying when it collided with you.

Any collision with a truck might cause catastrophic injuries, including brain or spinal cord injuries.

Call Correll Law Firm

Blown tire accidents are unfortunately common in Virginia. Correll Law Firm can assist any accident victim with an insurance claim for their case. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation. We can provide more information about the steps we take to obtain financial compensation for our clients.