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Tire Blowout Crashes: Driver Negligence or Product Defect?

Va. accident lawyer

A staple of action movies, tire blowouts and tread separations are no fun when they occur in real life. The explosive loss of air pressure in a tire almost instantaneously translates into the loss of traction. Steering and braking become much more difficult, and risks for crashing rise significantly.

Tractor-trailers, flatbeds, construction vehicles and other large commercial trucks are particularly prone to suffering tire blowouts. This is true for a number of reasons discussed below. And an immediate concern for anyone in the vicinity of large truck tire blowout is debris. Heavy chunks of rubber flying through the air can startle drivers of smaller vehicles and smash through windshields. The remains of blown out truck tires become crash hazards, especially when drivers swerve to avoid a collision or damage to their car.

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Whenever a collision follows a tire blowout, the question of why the tire failed must be asked. Determining the cause matters greatly for filing and settling insurance claims, especially when the crash leaves one or more people injured or dead.

What Can Cause a Tire Blowout?

Looking at all types of tires on all types of vehicles, Popular Mechanics identified four major risk factors for tire blowouts. These are

  • Underinflation, which leads to uneven wear and weakens the tire at certain points;
  • Overloading, which makes tires bulge and wear unevenly or pop;
  • Damage, especially from hitting a pothole or striking a curb; and
  • Improper maintenance, such as failing to check for low pressure, excessive tread wear and leaks.

Many of these causes can be traced back to negligence on the part of the vehicle owner or operator. When evidence shows that a tire on a large commercial truck blew out because it was improperly inflated, on an overweight rig or not inspected and replaced as required by federal and state rules, the truck driver and the company that employed them can be held liable for injuries or deaths.

Design and Manufacturing Defects Should Be Explored

Inferior materials, insufficient quality control, errors during production and poor design have all allowed defective tires to reach the market. Those tires have treads that can separate, creating all the problems of blowout. Though the odds of having a dangerous tire on any given vehicle is small, the list of recalled tires is long and always growing.

Checking whether a blown tire or tread separation that caused or contributed to a serious crash is important had a defect is important, especially following a single-vehicle accident when the manufacturer could have liability. A trucking company that ignored a recall notice would also likely have liability following a crash related to a tire blowout or separation.

Tips From Professional Drivers on Avoiding a Crash Following a Tire Blowout

Tire blowouts and spearations happen. If you experience one while driving, follow this advice offered by a leading tire retailer:

Step on the accelerator for an instant to preserve vehicle momentum (or at least maintain constant accelerator pedal pressure), and offset the pulling caused by the blown tire by gently counter steering to keep the vehicle in its lane. Once the vehicle has stabilized, the driver can gently slow down and begin to carefully pull over to the side of the road.

EJL

 

Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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