As we take to the roadways to capture what’s left of the summer, there are certain things we can expect to see along the way: Scenery; signs for local attractions; construction; police lying in wait for speeding tourists. And big chunks of black rubber, on the sides and sometimes right in the middle of the roadway. How did those get there?
A Hazard Of Summer
Those chunks of rubber are usually the remains of blown tires from large commercial vehicles, especially tractor trailer trucks. Anyone who’s ever driven a car as it loses tire air pressure can recall how scary it is. Now picture driving a 48 foot long vehicle that may weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Losing tire pressure — or losing a whole tire itself — becomes more than merely scary. It could mean that catastrophe is unavoidable. The truck driver may be unable to control or stop the vehicle, leading to an accident. Federal research has shown that hundreds of accidents are caused each year by commercial trucks with faulty tires. These tires.
- Cause drivers to be unable to stop, striking other vehicles
- Cause drivers to lose control and rollover, causing other accidents
- Break up and strike other vehicles, causing accidents
- Remain on the roadway, leading to other accidents
Driving is hard on the life of any tire. But driving on hot roadways in warm summer weather makes things even harder on all types of vehicle tires. These hot temperatures can break down tire structure and even cause tire frames to bend and buckle. Many commercial truck drivers are diligent about monitoring tires for wear and inflation. But desperate to stick to schedules, many more ignore tire health and hope for the best.
Then there is the cost of replacing worn-down truck tires. At prices of $600 and upwards, many drivers or their employers resort to “retreading” tires. Retreaded tires can save hundreds of dollars. While research hasn’t proven that retreaded tires are more likely to blow than newer ones, there are an awful lot of these shaved and retreaded tires out there on the road.
Protection From Gators
Trucking industry insiders call the remains of blown tires “gators.” The name is cute; the aftermath of such an accident is not. What can drivers do to avoid accidents with trucks with tire issues? Avoid driving close behind or next to all large commercial trucks, especially on hot days. Allow for plenty of leading and following distance, in case the driver loses control or a tire disintegrates.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer
If an accident involving a commercial truck tire happens, isn’t the truck driver at fault? Won’t insurance take care of it? There are actually many factors that can contribute to a tire blowout. Investigations to determine cause and blame can be lengthy. Insurance companies sometimes coerce victims into accepting settlements much lower than they deserve to avoid long delays. Because of this, a trucking accident lawyer trusts can be a useful advocate for victims. Such a lawyer may:
- Examine evidence
- Interview witnesses
- Recreate accident scenes
- File paperwork
- Negotiate settlements
- Make court appearances
The AAA Foundation says that blown tires are America’s greatest source of roadway debris, and a serious driving hazard. If you are a victim of this, don’t hesitate to seek legal help from a truck accident lawyer. This assistance may help you to get back on the road again.