You’re driving down the highway, just about to pass a semi-truck, when you hear a loud bang. The truck drifts into your lane, grey smoke pluming from its wheel well. At the same time, a heavy piece of tire tumbles through the road and hits the front of your car, forcing you onto the shoulder while the truck spirals into oncoming traffic.
This was all caused by a single tire blowout, a common and dangerous kind of truck accident nobody expects.
What Causes Tire Blowouts
A blowout occurs when there is so much heat or friction on a tire that it bursts. Trucks produce a lot of friction on the highway and wear out their tires faster than other vehicles. For that reason, circumstances that create even more friction, such as an underinflated tire, put them at risk of a blowout.
Some of the top contributing factors in a truck tire blowout include:
- Underinflated tires
- High temperatures
- Incorrect tire size
- Poor weight distribution
- Cargo exceeds weight limit
Consequences of Tire Blowouts
A blowout isn’t the same as a flat tire; it is an explosive event where the tire bursts and steel-lined rubber scraps tumble into the road. When this happens, it endangers everyone around the truck, including drivers on the other side of the median.
When a truck loses a tire, it tends to pull in the direction of the imbalance. If a tire bursts on the left side, the truck may suddenly swerve into the passing lane, sideswiping anyone alongside them, and may even veer into oncoming traffic.
At the same time, the tire scraps left behind are extremely dangerous. Scraps can weigh as much as 100lbs and can total a car when they impact at high speeds.
While you can’t predict a truck tire blowout, you can exercise safe driving techniques around semi-trucks. Provide at least three car lengths when following behind a truck and avoid driving alongside them or just behind them in the passing lane whenever you can. Once you enter the passing lane, commit to the action, pass the truck, and merge back into your lane. It just might save you from an unexpected accident.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries or wrongful death in a trucking accident, we are here for you. To discuss your crash with an experienced Kansas City Truck accident attorney from Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, send us an email or call us at (816) 542-5999 for a free consultation.