Negligence in maintaining tractor-trailer equipment can lead to serious accidents. Tire blowouts are relatively common on these rigs, but most could be prevented. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that over 12,000 accidents happen annually due to 18-wheeler tire blowouts. Anyone who has been seriously Hurt in a truck accident caused by a tire blowout may want to contact a law firm for a free initial consultation.
About Tire Blowouts
This kind of incident is the abrupt rupturing or bursting of a tire. It can happen with passenger vehicles too, but the problem is more severe with heavy trucks because the tires are so large. In addition, this typically happens when the rig is moving at a high speed.
Heavy truck tire blowouts usually occur because no inspection was completed before a trip or because the owners have allowed the tires to become very worn. Hot pavement is a risk factor, explaining why most of these incidents happen between May and October nationwide. Another risk factor is a very heavy load. Laws limit the weight of the truck and its cargo, but the weight can be as high as 80,000 lbs. In addition, permits sometimes are issued allowing for weights higher than this.
Causes of Crashes
Huge pieces of rubber can fly through the air and hit windshields of passenger vehicles. Drivers may instinctively swerve to avoid the debris.
Another problem is the large number of debris left on the highway after one of these big tires fails. Again, drivers may have to swerve at high speed to avoid hitting it. They might need to brake suddenly if moving if adjacent lanes are occupied. That can lead to a rear-end collision at highway speeds. Sometimes a driver has no choice but to move through the rubble at 65 miles per hour, which can cause a loss of control.
In some cases, the truck driver loses control of the rig. When semi-trucks and passenger vehicles collide, the situation is extremely dangerous for the people in the smaller automobile. Tractor-trailer collisions with passenger cars are relatively uncommon compared to other road accidents, but the consequences tend to be substantially more serious.
A Combination of Factors
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has conducted a study examining reasons for serious accidents involving large trucks. Sometimes a combination of factors leads to a situation that is worse than it would have been with just one cause. In fact, the reconstruction of accident scenes by experts verifies that these incidents usually have at least two causes.
For instance, a fatigued driver may be less able to control the rig immediately after a tire blowout than a fully alert, awake individual could. A less experienced trucker will also have more trouble. Bad weather in the form of snow, sleet or heavy rain also raises the probability of a serious accident because of tire failure.
Injury lawyers provide free initial consultations to accident victims. A person dealing with the aftermath of a heavy truck tire blowout may want to contact an attorney and schedule an appointment.