Every year, drivers breathe a sigh of relief when the winter weather fades and summer starts. However, that sense of safety that many drivers gain in the summer months when the roads are free of snow and ice and the days are long is somewhat misplaced -- drivers are actually just trading one set of roadway risks for another.
One of those summertime driving dangers happens to be tire blowouts. Learn more about why they happen and what you do to keep yourself safe when they do.
First: Understand The Causes Of Tire Blowouts
Tire blowout season runs somewhere from mid-May through the earliest parts of October when warmer weather is generally bountiful. The increased ambient temperatures, combined with the heat of the friction on the road as heavily loaded vehicles take longer vacation trips (or just more trips in general) can put some strain on a tire that's even in relatively good condition.
If you're pushing your tires beyond their recommended limits (waiting until closer to fall, perhaps, to replace them), that's a recipe for disaster.
Other problems that can increase the odds of a blowout include:
- Underinflated tires -- if you aren't monitoring your tire pressure you have no way of knowing if that vacation load or flatbed full of gardening supplies is causing damage to your tire's structure by flexing the tire's components beyond their ability to rebound.
- Overloading the vehicle -- this happens when people overestimate the load-bearing capacity of their vehicle's tires whether they're properly inflated or not. It usually happens when someone is transporting something particularly heavy in a car or pickup. For example, if you help your brother move, fitting his home gym equipment in one load may stress your tires past their limits.
- Potholes are another way to damage a tire. Potholes coincide with blowout season for a reason -- potholes help create blowouts by putting external pressure on them and banging them up every time a driver hits one.
Second: Know how to react to blowouts
There's no magic secret to avoiding a car accident once a blowout happens -- you simply have to try to stay calm and avoid slamming the brakes. If you do slam the brakes, you're likely to end up swerving into the path of oncoming traffic, causing a wreck.
Instead, stay steady and try to steer as carefully as you can through the bumpy ride by steering against the pull of the blown tire gently. Only once the vehicle seems stable and not in danger of flipping over should you begin to let your foot off the gas pedal and steer the car to the side of the road.
Now you know how best to prevent a car accident due to a blown tire this summer -- however, that doesn't mean that you won't end up being in an accident caused by a driver who doesn't know the ropes and rules. If you are, you may have a strong negligence case against the driver (for not taking care of his or her tires properly or managing the vehicle properly once the tire blew). You may also have a negligence case against the tire's manufacturer if the tire was properly maintained and failed to hold together anyhow (which can happen).
Discuss the case with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.