A tire blowout may be one of the last things you think about when getting behind the wheel, but according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tire blowouts and related issues are responsible for contributing to approximately 9% of all motor vehicle accidents in the US. Tire blowouts tend to occur suddenly. This can cause the vehicle to suddenly spin out of control, often with tragic results. Recent data indicates that catastrophic tire failure is responsible for approximately 78,000 accidents, 11,000 injuries, and more than 700 deaths each year. Be sure you know what to do if you find yourself behind the wheel of a vehicle experiencing a blown tire.
How Do I Know a Tire Blew Out?
If you are driving a vehicle when a tire explodes, you will probably know it. While you may or may not hear the tire pop with a loud bang or boom followed by the sound of gushing air escaping from the tire, you will almost certainly be alerted by the repeated flap-flap-flapping of the deflated tire as it rotates and hits the road. Your car will lose speed immediately after the tire fails. It will then veer strongly to whichever side the affected tire is on. If a front tire blows out, you will be able to feel this in the steering column. In contrast, a blown rear tire will most likely be felt throughout the bottom body of the vehicle.
How to React to a Tire Blowout
It is important that you stay calm. First focus on getting control of the vehicle. Then, get the car off of the road as safely as possible.
1. Maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel.
2. Do NOT slam on the brakes.
3. Allow the vehicle to gradually slow down.
4. Once the car has slowed sufficiently, steer off to the side or berm of the road.
5. Activate your emergency hazard (“four-way”) flashers.
6. Call for roadside assistance.
7. Unless it is safe to exit the vehicle, stay inside until help arrives.
If you fail to act reasonably following a tire blowout, you may be held legally liable for your actions if they result in a crash.
Install a New Tire As Soon As Possible
If you are in a location where you can change the tire, you may be able to install the spare if you are able to do so safely and competently. If you are located close to a tire shop, you might consider driving there to have a new tire installed. Most spare tires are not rated for more than 50 miles and speeds over 50 mph. Check your owner’s manual for safety guidelines before attempting to operate the vehicle with a spare tire in place. If you have any doubt about your tire installation skills or the integrity of the spare tire, have the vehicle towed to a repair shop. Do not risk further damage to your vehicle or harm to yourself. It is not worth it.
You are responsible to inspect and repair the vehicle as needed before placing it back into operation.
Did the Tire Blowout Result In an Accident?
If you were involved in an accident with another vehicle in which your or another driver’s tire blew out, do not leave the scene of the accident. Seek prompt medical attention whether or not you believe you are injured, collect the other driver’s contact information, alert your insurance company of the accident, and contact Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law as soon as possible for legal counsel. Do not admit fault. Do not discuss specific details of the incident with ANYONE until you have received legal advice.
Take note of the following. If any of these apply, take pictures (if you are able to do so safely):
-Poor Tire Condition On the At-Fault Vehicle
-Clear, Close-Up Images of the Faulty Tire (All Angles)
-Other Vehicle Overloaded
How to Help Prevent Tire Blowout
Although it is not always possible to avoid a tire blowout, you can help reduce the risk of experiencing this dangerous condition.
-Ensure your tires are properly inflated at all times, not over or underinflated. The #1 cause of tire blowouts is under-inflation.
-Inspect the condition of your tires regularly.
-Follow all maintenance recommendations for your tires.
-Replace your tires according to the manufacturer’s guidelines or when they otherwise show signs indicating damage (including shallow treads, puncture damage, weakness, dry rot, and signs of age, weather, or chemical exposure)
-Do not overload your vehicle. Be aware of the maximum allowable safe loading capacity.
-Avoid driving at high speeds when possible. Never exceed the maximum speed limit.
-Avoid driving over potholes, curbs, cracks, bumps, and roads in poor condition. If you must, drive over these areas slowly and with caution.
-When buying tires, choose a reputable brand.
-Check for manufacturer recalls.
Note: Even if a tire appears to have sufficient tread or looks brand new, its structural integrity may be compromised. Rubber begins breaking down from the time the tire rolls off the assembly line. Exposure to heat, oil, chemicals, road salt, weather extremes, and many other substances and conditions can degrade rubber. If a tire is more than 6 years old, consider replacing it even if it has been in storage and appears in great condition.
Injured by a Defective Tire?
Contact Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law
If you were seriously injured through no fault of your own in a traffic accident linked to a defective tire or vehicle component, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your losses. Manufacturer’s defects can contribute to tire blowouts and other types of tire failure. Even if the tire was not defective, the operator of the vehicle may be held responsible for any property damage and injuries caused by the accident. If you were involved in an accident involving a tire blowout, whether it was your vehicle or not, it is important to seek legal counsel right away.
Since 1952, Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law has protected the rights of the seriously injured throughout West Virginia. We offer the aggressive, proven legal counsel you need when involved in many types of vehicle accidents. For a free initial case consultation, call: (304) 292-4381. Time is of the essence. Do not delay.