Tire Blowouts: Why They Happen and How to React

  • March 3, 2017
  • Steinger Greene & Feiner
  • Auto Accident

Are you enjoying the warm weather? It’s a silly question, we know. When the weather takes a turn after a cool winter, people come out in droves. For you, it means slipping behind the wheel of your car and cruising down the highway — and you aren’t alone. Hundreds, if not thousands, take advantage of the warm weather, simply getting out and enjoying life. If people are thinking like you, that means more people enjoying the call of the open road.

As you get behind your wheel, you are aware, even if you don’t know it, of the dangers that could lie ahead. You know that there is a chance you could be involved in an accident. You know that there is a chance you could drive by an accident. Do you ever consider that you could be the one to cause an accident?

Starting in mid-May, we will be in an unofficial season known as tire-blowout season. Tires fail at a higher rate when temperatures climb and people drive farther and faster. Before tire-blowout season is in full swing, knowing why tire blowouts happen and how you can react to one could be a game changer.

Why Tires Blow Out

1. Underinflation

Most cars today are equipped with a low-pressure warning system. You don’t have to do any work; your car will tell you when your tire pressure is too low. The problem, though, is that most of these systems don’t signal a warning until tires are at a dangerously low pressure. What that means to you is that as soon as you are warned, you need to inflate your tires.

When your tires are underinflated, the components inside work in ways that they are not supposed to. They flex and bend in ways that they weren’t meant to do. Too much of this and they can overheat and snap. When this happens, those pieces can come through your sidewall, causing a blowout.

2. Overloading

Cars and trucks are meant to carry certain weights. When you overload your vehicle, you are also overloading your tires. This can be very dangerous. If you know that you will be carrying a load that reaches the upper limits of your vehicle’s Gross Vehicular Weight Rating, inflate your tires to their maximum pressure. This helps to take some of the stress off of the tire. You can let a bit of air out when you have emptied your vehicle.

3. Potholes

One sure way to ruin your tires is to run through a pothole at full speed. While you may make it over 99 potholes without an issue, it’s the hundredth that may blow your tire. Sometimes, you hit a pothole so hard that your tire blows immediately. At other times, the damage done to your tire causes a problem that builds over time.

4. Building Damage

In most cases, a tire will be damaged in such a way that it dies a slow death. It won’t blow immediately. Instead, it will work for you until it reaches a point that it can’t take anymore. You may overload it. The temperatures outside may soar. You may hit a final pothole. No matter what happens, your damaged tire can’t take anymore and it blows.

One of the biggest favors you can do for your tires, and for yourself, is to maintain them properly. If they are low, fill them with air. If you haven’t checked them out in a while, take a good look at them. Look for cuts, slashes and holes. If you notice anything wrong with your tires, head to a garage and have a professional assess them. You may find yourself spending money that you didn’t plan on spending, but a new tire is often cheaper than repairing the property damage caused by an accident.

Handling a Blowout

If a blowout does occur, you’ve got to react correctly. This can be hard to do. The noise and sudden movement of your vehicle after a blowout can be stressful and make it difficult to react calmly.

Instead of slamming on your brakes as you may be inclined to do, simply take your foot off the accelerator and let your car slow naturally. Slamming on the brakes can cause your tire to change directions suddenly. Letting your car slow naturally makes it easier to steer it in the direction you choose.

Speaking of steering, do your best to keep the car moving in its original direction when the tire blows. It will be easier to steer toward the side of the road to safety as the car slows down. As soon as you are able to, move to the side of the road. Call for assistance or, if you know how and have a spare, change your tire yourself.

When your tire blows, you have a greater chance of being involved in an accident. When you know why tire blowouts happen and how to handle them when they do, you are better able to keep yourself, your family and others on the road safe.

If you are involved in an accident in West Palm Beach, you have rights. Call our team of experienced car accident attorneys today to schedule your free consultation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options.

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