Semi-Truck Tire Blowout Safety
Drivers of all types of vehicles exceed speed limits both on and off the highway, posing a huge safety hazard for themselves and other drivers. Semi-truck drivers are no exception. In fact, speeding truck drivers are much more dangerous. Not all semi-truck tires are made for highway speeds–especially in Texas and several states west of the Mississippi. Goodyear makes truck tires that are designed for speeds of 65 mph or less, when most highway speed limits are 65 mph or above. When speed limits in places like Texas are as high as 85 mph, the risk of tire blowouts increases drastically. When a semi truck driver exceeds 75 mph, the average speed designed for these tires, highway accidents become a HUGE risk. On top of this, the hot asphalt adds more stress to the already hazardous and under-qualified tires of semi-trucks. This is not only bad for the truck, but also dangerous for drivers and other people on the roads. If trucks contain cargo like cattle or flammable objects, a tire blowout is a recipe for a series of unfortunate events.
Safety advocates say that continuously driving faster than the rated speed of the tires will cause damage to the rubber because the tires cannot handle this amount of heat. This problem increases the risk of injuries and deaths on the highway. Manufacturers need to have a sense of urgency and responsibility to design safer tires that accommodate speed limits of every state. On the other hand, semi-trucks should not be able to travel as quickly as cars. Truck drivers should be aware of the danger in going too fast, and tire manufacturers need to accommodate higher speeds in case a truck driver unknowingly goes too fast. In general, drivers should be able to feel safe on the roads, and not have to worry about a possible tire blowout. Whether a person is driving the semi-truck, or driving in the lane beside the semi-truck, trusting in the tires will allow people to trust in their safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that truck tire blowouts are one of the major causes of truck accidents in the United States, causing over 12,000 truck accidents each year. These blowouts not only cause the trucks themselves to become unstable and potentially uncontrollable, but they can cause dangerous collision risks for other drivers as well.
Truck Tire Blowout Risks:
- Flying tire treads and tire debris. During a blowout, the tire basically rips itself apart, and the explosive force catapults large pieces of the former tire (which can weigh up to 100 pounds) directly outward toward any unsuspecting cars that may be nearby.
- Trucker losing control. The force of the blowout, along with the instability of the trailer when balancing on uneven tires, may cause the truck driver to swerve, lose control, or even tip over.
- Loosened cargo. When the truck becomes unstable, there is a risk that the trailer may open, releasing its cargo.
- Fellow driver panic. Witnessing a tire blowout can be jarring, especially if the truck loses control. Unfortunately, this can cause other motorists to panic and swerve, brake, or maneuver erratically to avoid the truck, without paying attention to other traffic.
There are many differences between truck accidents and regular automobile accidents. Trucking companies have significant ways of minimizing claims, and their rules differ from rules that apply to other drivers. You must have a lawyer on your side who knows these rules, and one who will walk you through this process every step of the way.
Truck accidents have a variety of different origins, including:
- Overloaded trucks
- Driver fatigue
- Careless lane changes
- Following too closely
- Tire blowout
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