Driving is inherently dangerous, especially when sharing the road with semi trucks. While you can mitigate this danger by increasing your following distance behind these big rigs, passing one on a multilane road brings you within a few feet of it. Likewise, only a few feet separate you from oncoming trucks on a two lane road. Because you can't entirely avoid these situations, you have to trust that the truck doesn't suddenly lose control, as can happen during a tire blowout.
How Semi Truck Tire Blowouts Endanger the Driving Public
Semi truck tire blowouts can occur with explosive force and send rubber tire sections through the windshields or side windows of nearby cars. They can also cause the semi truck to lose control and jackknife, tip over, or veer into the lane of opposing traffic. Their large size makes them difficult to avoid when they've lost control and makes collisions with them deadly. An out-of-control trailer may endanger nearby traffic by releasing its cargo on the road. Finally, nearby motorists may overreact and involve you in an accident.
The Causes of Semi Truck Tire Blowouts
- Under inflation. Truck drivers may fail to check and maintain proper air pressure in their rig's tires. This negligence causes chronically under inflated tires, which weaken over time because of excessive flexing. The blowout may occur suddenly with no external trigger, or happen after the tire hits a pothole. Sometimes the weakened tire blows out on a hot day or when the trailer carries an unusually heavy load.
- Tire damage. A pothole struck at a high speed, or striking a large piece of road debris can cause tire damage. Sometimes the tire fails immediately or the blowout can happen hundreds of miles after the damage occurred.
- Tire wear. Tires driven on worn-out thread have less rubber thickness where they contact the road. This weakness makes them more vulnerable to blowouts.
- Tire defect. This is relatively rare but still occurs today.
All truck drivers are required to do a pre-trip inspection before driving their rigs. This inspection should include checking the tire condition. Failure to do this can potentially expose the driving public to a tire blowout accident. Sometimes the fault may lie with a third-party maintenance service used by the trucking company or with a tire manufacturer.
If you were injured by a semi truck tire blowout, our lawyers can review your case to learn who is liable. Contact us for more information.