Young & McCarthy LLP

How semi-truck tires can lead to accidents

Have you ever noticed the black remnants of a semi-truck’s tires scattered along a highway? It’s unfortunately common for these large trucks to have tire issues while supporting heavy weight over long distances.

In some cases, these tire issues can lead to dangerous accidents. Here’s why.

What is a semi-truck tire blowout?

When a semi-truck tire blows out on a highway, it may explode or have simply ruptured. The condition usually causes shredded pieces of rubber to tear from the tire.

What’s the risk to other drivers?

Tire fragments that tear from a semi-truck tire blowout fly back at other drivers if the vehicle is moving at high speed. These pieces of rubber may obstruct a driver’s view, damage their vehicle or cause them to lose control.

Other risks may come if drivers suddenly swerve out in front of other drivers to dodge the incoming tire debris. Note that incidents like these are especially dangerous for motorcycle riders.

A tire blowout could also cause the semi-truck driver to lose control or spin out into traffic, depending on factors such as the rig’s weight distribution and the number of tires.

Are tire blowouts preventable?

Some causes of semi-truck tire blowouts are preventable. For instance, semi-truck drivers are required by law to seek regular maintenance inspections and follow best practices for truck repairs. However, fault for a blowout could fall on a number of parties during this process, such as:

  • Failure to perform regular inspections
  • Maintenance inspection is not comprehensive
  • Improper repair, maintenance or tire installation
  • Failure to do a repair

A blowout could also be caused outside of the maintenance process if:

  • The semi-truck is not loaded properly or overloaded
  • Tires are recalled or otherwise defective
  • The driver hits a pothole, something sharp or a curb
  • The driver continues to drive on a flat tire

The potential for all of these risks increases the likelihood of a semi-truck tire blowout. That’ why it’s important to practice defensive driving while near a semi-truck and always be prepared with an escape route. If you notice that the tires on a big rig look worn, loose or flat, take care to separate yourself from the vehicle by passing, pulling over or taking a different route.

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