Tire Blowouts – How to Avoid a Deadly Situation

Summer is tire blowout season. This is because hot roads and long driving hours often combine with poor quality or worn tires to create disaster. What are the best ways to protect yourself from a tire blowout?

First, be sure that your tires are properly inflated. Over inflation is a common problem in the summer as temperatures rise. Obviously this can put stress on a tire and cause a blowout. Under inflation is also a serious risk. That is why it is important to carry a tire inflation gauge with you and to use it regularly. Many people do not appreciate that a underinflated tire poses an extreme risk to the driver and to others on the road.

Secondly, be sure that your tires have enough tread. There is a common industry statistic stating that 90% of tire failures occur in the last 10% of tread life. In our experience, this is probably a correct statistic. It is simply not worth it to try to save money by driving tires beyond their life expectancy.

Third, be sure that you are not driving a “new old tire” or other tire that is beyond its expiration date.  Simply because a tire has sufficient tread does not mean that it is safe. In fact, some tires sold by less than reputable dealers are old tires being sold as new. Just because the tire has 100% tread does not mean it is safe if it has set in a warehouse for five years.  Check the date of manufacture by finding the tire identification/serial number, which will show the week and year that the tire was first manufactured – the last four digits of this number should show the week they were produced (shown in the first two digits) and the year (shown the last two digits).

It is also very important to realize that a tire blowout is not always caused by the tire literally blowing out. Often what actually happens is that the tread separates from the sidewall of the tire. This tread separation event can be far more deadly than a blowout. Studies have shown that after a tread separation, the vehicle may be virtually uncontrollable even by the most experienced driver and even at low speed. When an inexperienced driver and high-speed travel combine with a tread separation, the results are often deadly.

Over the years, our law firm has been involved in a number of cases where tires failed or tread separated and caused catastrophic accidents. We are always happy to provide confidential and free advice if you believe that you or a loved one may have been injured by a defective tire or a tire blowout.  Whether the failing tire was on your vehicle or a vehicle that hit you, we can provide valuable professional insight regarding your options.

In the meantime, we recommend using name-brand tires such as Michelin, changing them well before they are worn, and always keeping them properly inflated.  Following these simple steps can go a long way toward ensuring your family’s safety.