Tire blow out accidents in Tallahassee and southern Georgia are often sudden and catastrophic. They can lead to serious injury or even wrongful death, depending on the cause of the blowout. A recent tire blowout in southwest Georgia is a reminder of the devastation that can be caused by tire blowouts on highways.
Reports indicate that one woman died and another two were seriously injured after their van blew a tire on Interstate 75 in southwest Georgia on Saturday morning. According to a trooper with the Georgia State Patrol, the fatal crash occurred after the driver lost control of the van when a tire blew out. The reports indicate that the van overturned after the blowout occurred and one of the passengers was ejected, causing fatal injuries.
Why Blowouts Happen
According to Popular Mechanics, tire blowout season runs from the middle of May through early October. While blowouts can happen at any time of the year, more tires fail from late spring to early fall for three reasons: (1) the outside temperature is the hottest; (2) motorists are driving farther and faster during this period; and (3) vehicles are more heavily loaded. The combination of these three factors can push a neglected or damaged tire beyond its breaking point.
Tire damage and neglect can occur in several ways including:
–Underinflation – proper air pressure is required to allow a tire to carry the weight of the vehicle, its passengers, and its cargo. When a tire is not properly inflated, the internal components of the tire (such as its fabric, steel rubber, and other composite materials) are flexed beyond their manufacturing design limits. Improper inflation causes the internal pieces of the tire to over-flex, weaken, and fail.
–Overloading – carrying too much weight for the vehicle to support also can fatally damage a tire. The maximum weight a tire can carry is molded into the tire sidewall and it tells the maximum weight the tire can carry if the tire is inflated to the maximum pressure indicated.
–Potholes – tires can be fatally injured by slamming into a pothole, driveway lip, or other road hazard. The impact of the force causes the internal parts of the tire to be pinched between the wheel and the road hazard. The damage may be severe enough to cut through the fabric and rubber, causing the tire to fail immediately, or the damage may be more subtle, fraying or cutting the internal parts without showing external damage.
-Product Defect – tires also may suffer from manufacturing defects that cause them to be prone to failure. For example, Michelin North America, Inc. (Michelin) recently recalled potentially 1,200,000 tires manufactured for use on certain light trucks, full-sized heavy duty vans, small RVs, and some large pickup trucks because the tires could experience tread separation, causing rapid air loss, which could result in a loss of vehicle control and increase the risk of a crash.
What To Do During A Tire Blowout
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has provided information to drivers about what to do in the case of a tire blowout. It points out that the goal in any rapid loss of tire pressure or blowout situation is to keep the vehicle balanced and under control. To do this, the driver must not panic, because any overreaction (such as slamming on the breaks or quickly taking the foot off the accelerator) can cause a loss of control over the vehicle.
The NTSA advises drivers to do the following:
– Do NOT step on the brake or abruptly take foot off accelerator pedal;
– Gradually release the accelerator; and
– Correct the steering as necessary to stabilize the vehicle and regain control, then steer the vehicle to a safe location.
Tire Blowout Driving Injury
If you have been injured in a tire blowout accident, or if your family is coping with a death arising out a tire blowout accident, you may be entitled to recover for the harm you have been caused. For more information on how the law can help you, call the Tallahassee car accident lawyers at Fasig & Brooks at (850) 222-3232.