Automobile Tire Failure Accidents
Tire Failure Attorney James Walker shares his thoughts on potential driving hazards.
Known for its heat, Houston has experienced surprisingly cool weather this spring, but don’t let that fool you. All Houstonians know that summer is coming and that means tire blowout season is too. Houston Tire Failure Attorney James Walker discusses the potential problems your tires face on the roads this summer.
Tire blowout season is typically from the middle of May through early October. When outside temperatures are at its hottest, it is the reason that tires will start failing. This is caused by air molecules. The temperature of a gas (the air in your tires) relates to the speed at which the molecules are moving and how hard those molecules hit the walls of the tire. Gas molecules will move faster as temperatures increase. When this happens, they will collide with the walls of the tire harder and at a higher frequency causing the tire to expand.
How does Tire Failure Happen?
Tire failure can occur due to various reasons, and understanding these causes is crucial for your safety on the road. Tire failure can result in blowouts, tread separation, or flat tires, leading to loss of control over the vehicle and potential accidents. If you experience any tire failure while driving, it is important to know who to call for immediate assistance.
There are several common causes of tire failure:
- Wear and Tear: Over time, tires naturally wear down due to regular use and exposure to the elements. If not properly maintained or replaced when necessary, worn-out tires are prone to failure.
- Underinflation or Overinflation: Incorrect tire pressure can lead to tire failure. Underinflated tires cause excessive heat buildup, leading to blowouts or tread separation. On the other hand, overinflated tires can cause the center of the tread to wear more quickly, reducing tire grip and increasing the risk of failure.
- Overloading: Exceeding the recommended weight capacity of a tire can lead to premature wear and potential failure. The excess weight puts extra stress on the tire, increasing the likelihood of blowouts or tread separation.
- Poor Maintenance: Lack of regular maintenance, such as failure to rotate tires, balance wheels, or check for proper alignment, can contribute to tire failure. Neglecting these maintenance tasks can lead to uneven tire wear, reduced tread life, and increased risk of failure.
- Manufacturer Defects: In some cases, tire failure can occur due to manufacturing defects or design flaws. If a manufacturer has released defective tires into the market, they can be held liable for accidents or injuries caused by these faulty products.
What Do I Do If I experience Tire Failure?
When you experience tire failure while driving, it is crucial to stay calm and take appropriate action. If it is safe to do so, move to the side of the road or a safe location away from traffic. Once you have ensured your safety, you can call for assistance.
In case of tire failure, there are different professionals you can contact for help, depending on the severity of the situation:
- Roadside Assistance: Many insurance companies and automobile clubs offer roadside assistance services that can help with tire changes, flat tire repairs, or towing.
- Local Tire Service Centers: If you are near a tire service center, you can contact them for immediate tire repair or replacement. These professionals have the expertise to diagnose the issue and provide the necessary solutions.
- Auto Repair Shops: If the tire failure is severe or related to other mechanical issues, contacting an auto repair shop would be beneficial. They can assess the overall condition of your vehicle and address any underlying problems that may have led to the tire failure.
- Lawyers: In extreme cases where tire failure has resulted in accidents, injuries, or property damage due to a manufacturer’s defect or negligence, you may need to consult a lawyer. A personal injury lawyer specializing in product liability or automotive defects can help you understand your legal rights and guide you through any potential legal actions.
Remember, prevention is the best approach to avoiding tire failure. Regularly inspecting your tires, maintaining proper inflation and tread depth, and promptly addressing any signs of wear or damage significantly reduce the risk of tire failure and ensure your safety on the road.
Help Prevent Tire Failure
Texas is a large state with diverse climates and road conditions, which can contribute to the occurrence of tire blowouts. High temperatures, especially during the hotter months of the year, can cause the air inside tires to expand and increase the risk of blowouts. Additionally, rough or poorly maintained roads, debris on the pavement, and speed can also contribute to tire blowouts.
To mitigate the risk of tire blowouts, drivers in Texas and beyond are advised to follow essential preventive measures:
- Regular tire maintenance: Check tire pressure regularly and maintain it within the recommended range. Properly inflated tires can help reduce the likelihood of blowouts.
- Tire inspections: Visually inspect tires for signs of wear, such as low tread depth, cracks, bulges, or cuts. These issues can weaken the structure of the tire and increase the chance of failure.
- Tire rotation and balancing: Regularly rotating tires and balancing the wheels can help ensure even wear, extending the tire’s lifespan and minimizing blowout risks.
- Avoid overloading: Be mindful of weight limits specified by the vehicle manufacturer and refrain from overloading the vehicle. Overloading can put excessive pressure on the tires and increase the risk of tire failure.
- Slow down and drive cautiously: Maintaining a reasonable speed and driving cautiously can help reduce stress on the tires and make it easier to navigate unexpected hazards on the road.
It is essential to note that while individuals can take precautions, tire blowouts can still occur due to various factors, including manufacturing defects, low-quality tires, or unforeseen road hazards. In such cases, it may be prudent to consult with professionals or legal experts to explore potential avenues of recourse.
To stay informed about tire safety, it is recommended to follow guidance from reputable sources such as the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These organizations often provide valuable resources and tips on tire maintenance, proper tire selection, and safe driving practices to help mitigate the risk of tire blowouts.
How does Tread Separation lead to Tire Failure?
When a tire is made, the base part of the tire is built first and then through various chemical and heating processes, steel belts are embedded in the tire, and finally, the tread is applied. Steel-belted radial tires are especially prone to tread separation. When the tread separates the driver may lose control of the vehicle, even when the tire does not lose pressure. Tread separation is usually due to some problem in the manufacturing process.
Tires can have a defective design or construction. The manufacturer may use rubber that is too old and dry. Additionally, they miss warning signs during final inspection, use petroleum solvent before vulcanization, and cure moisture in the tire. Tread separation usually occurs when a tire that is several years old is driven at a fairly fast speed. There have also been cases of brand-new tires separating at slower speeds, such as 15 or 20 mph. Of course, the faster you are driving when you experience tread separation or blowout, the more likely the chances are that you will be in a serious accident.
A report from the National Highway Safety Administration revealed that tread separations reduced the ability of drivers to control their vehicles, especially when the tire failure occurs on a rear tire at a high speed. The report also found that there is a much higher likelihood of death, injury, and crashes when the tread separation occurs on an SUV than on a pickup truck.
My Tire Failed, Do I Have A Case?
If you experience tire failure, and were injured, you may have a case. James Walker as your go-to professional can provide you with expert assistance and peace of mind. With over 40 years experience in personal injury law, James Walker is a highly knowledgeable and understands the complexities of tire failure legal cases. His expertise allows him to understand your case, whether it be due to wear and tear, underinflation, overloading, or manufacturing defects.
If you are curious if you have a tire failure case, call Walker Texas Lawyer today!