Every truck driver has experienced a flat tire every now and then while operating their vehicle, but in some instances, the tire doesn’t run flat, but explodes. This causes potential harm to the driver and everyone around him. Unlike a flat tire, tire blowouts can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle can result in a dangerous and even fatal crash.
But what causes tire blowouts? There are several factors that can contribute to tire blowouts and every truck driver should keep these things in mind before using their trucks for long hauls.
Incorrect tire inflation
When a tire is overinflated beyond what manufacturers recommend, it could put too much internal pressure than what the tire can handle resulting in tire blowouts. If the tire is under-inflated on the other hand, heat can accumulate within the tire causing the air inside to expand and explode.
Poor tire quality
Some substandard tires may have manufacturing defects that can lead to tire explosion due to poor quality materials or defects in design which make it vulnerable to sudden air loss.
Heat is a dangerous contributor to tire explosions because as the temperature inside a tire increases, so does the pressure. This can be a result of a hot environment or roads that are hotter than normal.
Tires that have been used for many years will go through wear and tear and unless it is replaced, it will undergo eventual structural weakness potentially resulting in a blowout.
Debris, potholes, uneven roads, and blockades on the road can cause tires to explode depending on the location of impact.
Because of the violent nature of a tire blowout, everything around the truck is at immediate risk. This is especially true when the truck is travelling down the highway at high speeds with many other vehicles in close proximity. Tire blowouts can make the truck veer uncontrollably because of imbalance in the wheels, and could lead to either cargo spillage, collision with nearby vehicles, or flung materials such as vehicle parts or road debris.
In the event of a blowout, here are a few things that the driver can do to minimize collateral damage to themselves, their truck, and their immediate surroundings.
Avoid hard braking
Braking hard during a tire explosion will only make matters worse because it could make the truck tilt over or careen off the road.
Slightly accelerate initially
Although seemingly counterintuitive, a little acceleration can help you regain some control. It is also advisable to keep driving straight ahead to avoid collisions with other vehicles. Once you have better control of the truck, you can then ease off the accelerator until it stops.
Grip the steering wheel
Maintain your hands in the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock position and keep a firm grasp on the steering wheel.
Gently apply the brakes
Once the vehicle is slow enough at around 30 mph, the brakes can then be gently applied.
Pull the truck over
Safely maneuver the vehicle to the side of the road to take it away from the moving traffic.
Engage hazard lights
Alert other motorists that your truck is stalled by activating the emergency flashers and wait for the proper assistance to arrive. Also place reflective cones around your vehicle to warn other vehicles to stay clear.
Drivers can be proactive and take precautionary measures to ensure that catastrophic events like a tire blowout never occur. Some of these precautions include:
A visual inspection your tires before heading out is one of the best ways to prevent tire blowouts. It lets the driver assess the health of the tires by examining its tread and looking out for signs of wear and tear as well as determining weather the tires are adequately inflated.
Keeping your tires in optimal condition means having to do routine maintenance on your vehicle such as wheel alignment and balancing. Worn tires should be replaced as necessary. Damaged tires can be repaired as long as the repair is done professionally and immediately.
Use only the recommended cargo weight as specified by the vehicle and tire manufacturer before transporting any material in your truck. Failure to comply could result in a potential blowout.
Do you need customized work trucks? Contact us at 1-877-479-1388 or email Steve Gruber at email@example.com for your car, truck or fleet rental and no-term leasing needs. We have locations in Hamilton, Selkirk & Niagara and service all of Ontario through our partner network. With a fleet of over 1000 vehicles and growing, Thomas Solutions has a wide array of work vehicles for lease or rent, and an expert team that provides fleet vehicle management services for large industrial firms.