Extreme summer temperatures cause unexpected tire blowouts that result in accidents, serious injuries and fatalities. Illinois Department of Transportation accident statistics show an increase in car accidents and personal injury claims filed with an Illinois personal injury lawyer during summer months.
According to AAA, tire-blowout season runs from mid-May through mid-October when roads are hotter, motorists are driving further distances, and cars are overloaded for travel destinations. This combination of circumstances can quickly push a neglected, injured or defective tire beyond its breaking point. Summer tire blowouts are most commonly caused by:
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Without proper air pressure, the internal components of a tire (rubber, fabric, steel and composites) can flex beyond their designed limits. This will cause the tire to over-flex, weaken, and eventually fail. When temperatures rise, tires tend to inflate naturally. Tires that are under-inflated tend to overheat beyond a normal range. When tires come into contact with hot freeway asphalt, the added friction combined with high speeds often leads to blowouts that result in car accidents and serious injuries. To prevent blowouts from under- inflated tires, The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration recommends checking tire pressure (PSI – pound by square inch) at least once a month and replacing tires every six years.
An overloaded vehicle puts added pressure on tires and contributes to blowouts, especially when tires are under inflated. Checking the vehicle’s Gross Vehicular Weight Rating, usually located on the same placard with recommended tire pressure, will ensure proper weight. When carrying heavy loads, tire pressure should be increased to maximum pressure, indicated on the sidewall of the tire. The number that’s molded into the tire tells the maximum weight the tire can carry when it’s inflated to maximum pressure. An Illinois personal injury lawyer often sees catastrophic crashes caused by overloaded vehicles traveling on Chicago roadways.
Many tires suffer damages like cuts, abrasions, punctures and tread loss due to road hazards long before they actually fail. If tires are not regularly inspected, they can fail unexpectedly at any time. Running over obstacles in the road or hitting potholes can easily damage today’s low-profile rubber tires. The impact pinches the tire’s internal components between the obstacle and the wheel. A hard impact can cut or fray internal components which will result in an immediate blowout.