Tire blowouts occur frequently on U.S. highways. In fact, they are one of the leading causes of accidents and injuries in the United States. Every year, tire blowouts cause an estimated 535 deaths and 23,000 accidents.
A tire blowout occurs when the tire suddenly loses air pressure. This sudden change of tire pressure causes often causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle. It is difficult to combat because preparing for this type of accident is virtually impossible. The car may jerk one direction with one type of blowout but another direction in another type of blowout. When drivers lose control, it can cause serious damage to the vehicle, its passengers, and other objects or vehicles around it.
NOTE: In any tire blowout case, it is extremely important that the tire and vehicle are preserved for inspection. Insurance companies are often quick in their attempts to take possession of the tire and vehicle before a proper inspection can occur by an expert. If an injury victim allows this to happen, it can be extremely difficult for an injury lawyer to later determine the exact cause of the crash. Insurance companies then have the upper hand in denying liability. Make sure to take advantage of a FREE Legal Consultation before allowing an insurance company to take possession of the tire. Call (855) 40-CRASH before speaking to an insurance company after a tire blowout accident.
Tire Blowout Causes
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a vast majority of tire blowout accidents are one-vehicle accidents. Those cases are usually due in large part to poor tire design or other virtually undetectable tire problems.
Tire blowouts can be caused by a wide range of factors, including:
- Manufacturing or design defects (including side wall failure)
- Mismatched tires
- Normal wear and tear
- Tire aging (when the tire sits in a warehouse without use for several years)
- Low tire pressure
- Tire punctures
- Hitting a curb, object, or other road hazard
- Mechanical malfunctions
- High heat
Occasionally, tire blowouts are caused by tire separation. The tire can be weak in several areas, but tread separation and rim separation are among the most common defects.
Rim Separation. When the tire separates from the rim, it will usually cause damage before it is even driven upon. Often, the tire will explode as it is being filled, harming whoever is inflating the tire and any onlookers.
Tread Separation. Tread separation is more likely to occur while you are driving. This dangerous condition can cause serious problems, even forcing the car to roll over suddenly if the vehicle is traveling at higher speeds. SUVs are more likely to roll over than regular passenger cars, and they are generally harder to control after a blowout.
Tread separation is far more likely to occur in large trucks. Large commercial vehicles may retread their tires instead of completely replacing them because it is cheaper. However, this reconditioned tire may not be as stable as a new tire.
Other causes of tread separation may include:
- Incorrect flat tire repair
- Old or worn tires (passenger or otherwise)
- Manufacturer’s defect
- Careless driving habits (hitting pot holes, curbs, etc.)
Glue Adhesion Failure. Glue adhesion failure can cause tire separation as well. In fact, it is generally the most common tire defect. The glue that holds the tire’s vital components becomes ineffective either because of age or because the glue was poorly made. If moisture or other substances get into the glue during the manufacturing process, then it can easily become less effective.
Tire companies have had trouble with poorly created glue for years, but many companies have not done anything to correct the problem. In fact, Goodyear was actually sanctioned by a federal court in 2013 for failing to produce the negative results of their tire safety test during litigation.
Glue adhesion failure often occurs at high speeds and high temperatures, making a crash especially deadly. The Goodyear G159 tire was one of the first designs that gained national attention for its glue failure.
One of the most common reasons that a tire blowout occurs is because the tire is underinflated. The tire cannot work properly without adequate air pressure. The fabric, steel, rubber, and composites will end up flexing much further than designed, causing overheating and breakage.
When you get new tires or have them rotated or repaired, check to be sure that your maintenance crew properly inflated your tires. Under-inflation and over-inflation can both cause serious problems. If a mechanic or other tire facility fails to properly fill your tires, they may be liable for your tire blowout and any related damages.
Common Tire Blowout Injuries
Because tire blowouts often result in the complete loss of control of a vehicle, the injuries involved can be very serious and even life-threatening in some situations.
Drivers often react poorly to tire blowouts, increasing their likelihood of experiencing an injury. Tire blowouts that occur at high speeds are especially prone to serious injuries, including, but not limited to:
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
- Wrist and hand injuries
- Facial injuries, including lacerations
Reacting to Tire Blowouts
Although it is difficult to predict how to effectively handle a tire blowout, the National Safety Commission has a few recommendations on how drivers should react to avoid serious injuries.
- Take your foot off of the accelerator.
- Do not apply the brakes suddenly.
- Concentrate on steering the vehicle in the desired direction.
- Slow the car’s speed gradually.
- Apply the brakes slowly.
- Steer the car off the road and out of harm’s way.
These directions may not work every time, but they will hopefully minimize the damages associated with a tire blowout. Moving the vehicle out of traffic is the most important goal for drivers who have a tire blowout.
Tire Blowout Lawsuits
A tire blowout can be caused by more than one factor, and sometimes the actual cause is difficult to recognize. An experienced tire blowout attorney can help you determine the actual cause of the blowout and whether you have a valid personal injury claim.
If someone hits you because they lost control of the vehicle due to a blowout, the liability analysis can be even more difficult. Don’t fight the insurance company or tire manufacturer on your own. Contact The Dixon Injury Firm by calling 855-40-CRASH for more information or for a free consultation. We are here to serve.