Tire-related crash deaths now exceed deaths due to cellphone distraction, according to statesman.com. In 2017, drivers in the United States put more than 3.2 trillion miles on their tires. In that same year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that there were 738 people killed in tire-related crashes.
Common causes of tire failure
Common tire defects that can contribute to a crash include:
- Under-inflation: A blowout is a sudden failure of a tire, usually due to wear, a defect, or (most commonly) simple under inflation. Most tire blowouts are caused by under-inflation; there simply isn’t enough air in the tire. When a tire is underinflated, the side of the tire flexes more (the side-wall always flattens a bit at the bottom as the tire rolls). That generates heat, and heat leads to tire failure, according to Firestone.
- Irregular wear: When a tire shows signs of wear on one side, while appearing in good condition on the other side, a wheel misalignment may be the cause. This can be particularly dangerous when roadways are slick.
- Roadway hazards: With deep potholes now springing up, sidewall damage is common. If you’re driving down the road at a high speed and hit a pot-hole, or run over an obstacle in the road, the tire takes the full brunt of the impact. If the impact is hard enough, the sidewall of the tire will compress and be squeezed between the object and the wheel flange. This “pinch-shock” can cause a chunk to come off the tire or a large crack to form on the sidewall where the cords have broken, according to tires-easy.com.
Tire defects can be dangerous for three reasons:
- Poor traction: When tire tread starts to wear down, drivers are more likely to skid in slippery conditions or hydroplane in puddles.
- Loss of air pressure: Low air pressure or loss of air in tires can make steering more difficult.
- Tire blowouts: When a tire hits an object in the road and suddenly blows out, drivers can lose control of their vehicles.
The only thing between you and the road is your tires. Proper tire maintenance is essential for safety, according to the NHTSA. They provide a valuable resource to help you make smart decisions to keep you and your family safe, whether you’re in the market to buy new tires or want to extend the life and safety of the ones on your car or truck now
If you’ve been in an accident caused by defective tires, don't hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Gene S. Hagood for a free consultation.