Most of us have seen a vehicle disabled on the side of the road with a blown tire. While most blowouts are minor, these incidents are a leading cause of traffic accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are nearly 78,000 accidents and over 400 deaths every year attributed to tire blowouts.
A blowout can happen at any time when a tire is so damaged that it loses all pressure immediately. This can quickly cause a driver to lose control. All motorists should understand the dangers of tire blowouts and the importance of tire safety. Unfortunately, not all of these accidents are avoidable as some are caused by manufacturer defects.
Common Causes of Tire Blowouts
Some tire blowouts are the result of road defects like potholes. Overloading a car can even cause a tire to fail. Many blowouts are the result of a tiny puncture in the wheel that slowly causes air and pressure loss.
What may surprise many drivers is the age of the tires can be a major factor in a blowout. When tires get older and exposed to heat, the rubber deteriorates, much like a rubber band left in the sun. At highway speeds, tires older than 6 years can experience tread separation. According to a study delivered by the NHTSA, 77% of all tire-related claims came from just five states with a hot climate and 84% were based on tires older than 6 years. Don't assume that tires that have only been on your vehicle for a short while are "new;" tire stores, dealerships, and repair shops often stock "new" tires for many years. This means the tires you just had installed may already be old and unsafe.
Sometimes tire blowouts are caused by defects in the tire itself in which it does not meet weight restrictions or pressure requirements. In these cases, the manufacturer may be held liable for the accident.
There are two important steps you can take to reduce the risk of a potentially fatal blowout accident:
- Check the date of manufacture stamped on your tires' sidewalls. There will be a 4-digit number after the DOT code. The first 2 numbers indicate the week and the other numbers indicate the year. A tire stamped "2011" was manufactured during the 20th week of 2011.
- Check your tire pressure regularly. Maintain safe tire pressure as recommended by your car manufacturer.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a tire blowout, it's important to consult with an experienced Houston auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact The Daspit Law Firm to review your case and explore your legal options.