Have you ever experienced the fright that comes with a tire blowout? Although modern tires are now sturdier than ever, they’re not impervious to damage. When a blowout does happen, it can feel frightening. In a lot of cases, fear takes over and the driver struggles to retain control of the vehicle.
Whether you’ve recently experienced a tire blowout or you’re worried that one is on the horizon, it helps to learn more about them.
Defining a tire blowout
In short, a blowout happens when there’s a rapid loss of pressure from your tire while you’re driving. As a result, the tire bursts, and if you’re traveling at a high speed, the situation may start to feel nightmarish.
Depending on where you live, you may find that there’s a tire blowout season. That season usually occurs between May and October because the weather is hot and drivers are going faster and further than usual.
Knowing what causes blowouts
If you’re a safe driver, you’ll want to do what you can to keep tire blowouts from happening. In order to achieve that, you need to know what causes them.
Underinflating your tire
All tires come with pressure recommendations. If you’re unsure what the recommendations are for your vehicle, you should check the manufacturer’s manual.
Having the right air pressure allows the internal components of your tires to move correctly. Underinflation results in the fabric, rubber, and steel moving beyond their designed limits. In severe cases, the metal can overheat and snap, resulting in a sudden tear to your tire as you drive.
Preventing underinflation is easy
Check in your vehicle manual for your recommended tire pressure. You may also see it on the driver’s side door jamb. If neither of those approaches work, ask a mechanic.
If you’ve made a long journey recently, check your tire pressure before making another one. Additionally, you should check them once a week if you drive every day.
Driving over potholes
Sometimes potholes are unavoidable. If you live in a rural area, you probably encounter them every day. Before long, you may find yourself bouncing over potholes without giving it a second thought.
When you drive over potholes, you’re pinching the rubber of your tire between the wheel and the pothole itself. In some cases, this may result in the tire blowing out immediately. For most people, repeatedly driving over potholes weakens the tire over time.
Driving while avoiding potholes
If you regularly encounter potholes, consider whether there’s a way to avoid them. For example, you could take a route that’s longer but safer. Or, you could position yourself on the road so that you’re not constantly dipping into the holes.
Overloading your car
Although it may sometimes feel as though overloading your car is unavoidable, it’s never a good idea. Sometimes it may feel as though your car can hold large amounts of goods. But it’s worth bearing in mind that just because it fits, it doesn’t mean you should drive with it.
Overloading your car places extra pressure on the inside of your tire. When you’re driving at a high speed, this means there’s a risk of the tire blowing out.
Maintaining a steady weight
If you want to maintain a steady weight and stop pressure from building inside your tires, you need to check your vehicle manual. It’ll provide you with your gross vehicular weight rating. When you’re carrying heavy loads, it’s probably worth doing a bit of math to figure out whether you’re about to exceed the rating.
Your tire is old
Like every other aspect of your car, your tires will age. If you’re not the type of person who pays attention to the tire tread and feels prompted to change it, you may not notice until it is too late.
Tires that are old are usually weaker than those that are new. Over time, this can result in them wearing thin and bursting.
Replacing tires promptly
Replace your tires when they have about a quarter of their tread depth remaining. If you don’t know when that is, look at the tread and see if you can insert a dime between the tire and the wheel. If you can do so easily, there isn’t enough tread and you need a replacement.
As one of your tire’s worst enemies, heat significantly increases the risk of a tire blowout happening. In extreme heat conditions, such as during heatwaves, your tires are more likely to wear down and blowout. This is especially likely when you’re also driving at speed.
Remain extra-vigilant during the summer months
There isn’t anything you can do to change the weather, but you can remain extra-vigilant during summer months. Make sure you check your tire pressure regularly as underinflated tires are a big risk when it’s hot. Additionally, change your tires promptly once you’re aware that the tread depth is too thin. You may also want to ask your mechanic to change your tires to a brand that can withstand high levels of heat. Some perform better than others and they can make a big difference to your driving experience.
Driving at high speeds
Driving at high speeds in certain conditions increases the likelihood of a blowout happening. Although your car is designed to go at a particular speed, your tires are designed to drive within the speed limit. Driving fast also makes it harder to control your vehicle if a blowout happens.
Stay within the speed limit
Resist the temptation to drive over the speed limit, even when you’re late and in a rush. In addition to reducing the risk of a blowout, doing this limits the amount of damage that happens if you get into an accident.
The consequences of a blowout
Did you know that tire blowouts cause more than 78,000 crashes per year? It’s also estimated that they’re responsible for more than 400 deaths. Based on those statistics, the consequences of a blowout are severe.
If the tire blowout is on the front of your vehicle, you may find that it pulls toward the side where the incident occurred. Your car will pull if the tire is at the back too, but it may not feel as strong. Because of this, tire blowouts affecting the front of the vehicle are generally harder to manage than those affecting the back.
Depending on where you’re driving, the blowout could cause a serious accident. For example, if you’re on a busy highway and there are lots of vehicles around, your reaction may result in a crash involving more than one. On a single carriageway, this is less likely to happen. However, the faster you’re traveling, the harder it is to keep your vehicle under control.
What should you do if you have a tire blowout?
If your tire blows out, you must resist the urge to brake. Although that’s your natural reaction when there’s an emergency involving your vehicle, it’s unlikely to make matters better. Braking will make you lose control further, which increases the likelihood that you’ll have a crash.
Instead, you should steer in the opposite direction of the blowout and place your foot gently on the accelerator. Doing this allows you to maintain momentum while the vehicle steadies itself. It also means you’re less likely to crash into another vehicle.
Once you feel as though the vehicle has steadied itself, slowly decrease your speed and find somewhere safe to pull over. You can begin gently pressing your foot onto the brakes once your speed drops below 30 mph. Turn on your hazard lights, then exit the vehicle and go to a safe place. Once you’re safe, call for help. It’s important to exit your vehicle just in case someone else collides with it.
What to do if a blowout causes significant damage
If your vehicle crashes into a large structure or another vehicle, it could cause significant damage. In some cases, victims of tire blowout crashes need to manage lifelong injuries. If you’ve recently been in a tire blowout accident, there are certain steps you need to follow.
Getting insurance details at the scene
As with any other accident, it’s wise to get insurance details at the scene. If it’s safe to do so, talk to the other drivers and get information about who they are, their address, and their license plate number. You may need this information when you contact your own insurance company.
Gather information about the tire
You may have more information about your tire than you think. Look at your vehicle service records to see when it was last serviced. If you’ve had your tires changed since buying the car, find those records too. If you suspect that the tire was faulty and that it isn’t lack of care that resulted in the blowout, you’ll probably need to prove the following:
- That you didn’t subject your tires to excessive wear before changing them.
- That the pressure in the tires was appropriate.
- That your vehicle wasn’t overloaded.
Naturally, it isn’t always easy to prove the above. However, if you’re a driver who is diligent about maintenance and record keeping, any evidence you have will prove useful.
You may also want to find information about the tire manufacturer. If there was a faulty batch of tires, having the right information can help your case.
Vehicle damage reports
Whether you’re the driver whose tire blew out or the driver of another vehicle, you’ll need vehicle damage reports. Depending on your insurance provider, they may recommend a mechanic for you. Your mechanic will be able to tell you whether it’s financially viable to get your car repaired. In the event that it is, you may be able to claim the cost of those repairs from the insurance provider for the person who is at fault. If you believe the tire was faulty, you may need to work with your insurance provider to claim costs from the manufacturer.
Creating a personal injury case
Being involved in a vehicle collision can cause both physical and mental trauma. Ideally, you’ll attend an emergency room immediately after the crash to undergo investigations. However, some soft tissue injuries don’t arise until weeks after the event. Because of this, it’s important to seek medical attention if you start experiencing the symptoms of whiplash. Make sure you keep any records of physiotherapy appointments for your personal injury lawyer.
If the crash was particularly severe, you may need to claim for mental trauma too. Car accidents are distressing and can result in conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Although you don’t always need to attend counseling to prove that you’ve suffered mental trauma, it will certainly help your case.
Claiming for loss of earnings
You may find that your accident-related injuries cause you to miss work. If that’s the case, you may be able to claim for loss of earnings. When making such claims, it’s important to provide a clear link between your accident and the time you miss at work. As a result, your personal injury lawyer will require evidence of your medical records and hours missed.
In addition to claiming for loss of earnings, it’s sometimes possible to claim for lost potential. This applies when you can demonstrate that you missed out on a workplace or academic opportunity because of an accident. Although these types of cases are complex, having the right legal professionals on your side can make them easier.
Lawyers who can assist following a tire blowout
At Batta Fulkerson, our lawyers assist clients throughout San Diego and the surrounding areas. If you’ve recently experienced a tire blowout and you believe the manufacturer was at fault, we can help you fight your case. Tackling such cases is often tricky, but we have a wealth of experience in serving clients in this area.
If you’ve recently been involved in an accident because someone else’s tire blew out, let us help you get the compensation you deserve. We can identify whether the other driver met their maintenance responsibilities. If we find that they didn’t, you may be able to receive compensation.
To discuss your tire blowout with us, contact us online or call 619 333 5555.