This summer we’ve endured higher than average temperatures, as has most of the rest of the country. High heat indexes bring a number of concerns about human health and how best to stay safe during hot spells. Most people consider how to keep their children, pets, and elderly family members cool. We think about sunscreen, heat stroke, and the dangers of children and pets inside hot cars. One serious summer risk, however, is not often mentioned in the news but poses a danger to people on roadways around the world: tire blowouts.
Summertime Tire Dangers
Summer is a time of extra travel, both commercial and recreational. Trucking companies load up their rigs to the limit, and the trucks are driven more miles than during other times throughout the year. Why does this matter? Well, obviously an overloaded semi-truck can be risky for many reasons, but it puts the truck driver at greater risk of losing control or experiencing a tipover. In addition, the additional stress and strain of extra weight in the truck increases the odds of tires becoming damaged. Damaged tires, especially on an 18-wheeler, can be deadly. This is particularly true during the summer when heat is an added factor.
All vehicles are more likely to experience tire blowouts during hot weather, but the risk of serious bodily injury and death is significantly higher when the vehicle is a semi-truck. Blowouts are so prevalent during summer weather that well-known car magazine, Popular Mechanics calls the time period from mid-May to mid-October “Blowout Season.”
Another important factor creating a dangerous environment for tire blowouts deals with tire inflation. An underinflated tire is far more likely to be damaged and fail due to the additional stress caused by underinflation, and yet many people decrease their tire pressure during the summer months. Why? It’s because heat causes expansion, and the air inside the tire can expand when it is hot. Just as underinflation can be a danger, overinflation also poses risks and can be a concern. It’s a delicate balance, and creates an additional responsibility for drivers to keep an eye on and maintain the proper tire pressure in their vehicles.
What Makes a Tire Blowout Dangerous?
If you’ve ever seen a tire blowout occur, you know it happens suddenly and can be very explosive. The driver of the vehicle must react quickly to attempt to minimize the impact of the blowout, but this can be difficult. Often, the driver will lose control of the vehicle, even if for a very short period of time. It is even more difficult for drivers of large, heavy semi-trucks to keep control in these situations. In some tire blowouts, the entire tire tread explodes off the tire in one big piece. Other times, the pieces of the tire shoot off in multiple directions. In either situation, the loss of control, as well as the presence of such large debris on the roadway, can cause serious accidents involving multiple vehicles.
Truckers and Trucking Companies Must Maintain Tires
The responsibility placed on truckers and trucking companies to maintain their vehicles is very high. Tires must be checked regularly, and both the driver and the company can be held accountable if proper checks and maintenance are not managed appropriately. Despite strict regulations, poor or ineffective maintenance is the cause of many semi-truck tire blowouts.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a semi-truck, the Michigan truck accident attorneys at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm will be thorough, reviewing maintenance logs for evidence of negligent management of the truck’s upkeep. If a negligent maintenance played a role in your accident, you are likely to have a right to compensation. Call us today for a FREE consultation: 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733).