We reported last month on the risks of bus and truck accidents caused by vehicle defects.
But such risks are not exclusive to commercial drivers. In fact, worn or defective tires on passenger vehicles are a common cause of accidents, particularly during winter months. But hot summer months and heavy rain bring their own dangers when it comes to a tire blowout.
For those who are seriously injured in Columbus following a motor-vehicle collision, whether or not a vehicle had proper tires is often not even a consideration. But government statistics reveal that bad rubber leads to bad accidents more often than most motorists realize.
Accidents risks involving worn or defective tires
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that bad tires result in more than 11,000 traffic collisions each year.
Defective tires are a common cause of accidents and there have been a number of high-profile cases over the years, including the Firestone and Ford controversy. In that case, 271 fatalities and more than 800 injuries led to the recall of more than 23 million tires.
But poor maintenance is also a leading cause. Common tire defects include tread separation, tread and steel belt separation, improper tire repair, tires not suitable for a vehicle, retread tire failure and tire damage during the mounting process.
Motorists can do their part:
- Only 19 percent of drivers properly and regularly check their tire pressure. Low tire pressure leads to excessive wear and can result in a blowout. One in four cars have at least one tire that is significantly under-inflated.
- Rotate your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. This will result in more even tire wear, which will extend the life of your tires and keep your vehicle safer on the road.
- Regardless of mileage, have your vehicle's tire wear checked every year. Sunlight and heat result in natural breakdown of rubber tires over time.
Rollover Injuries Result from Tire Failure
Sudden tire failure, particularly at higher speeds, can result in loss of vehicle control or over-correcting. The most common results are a vehicle leaving the roadway or a rollover accident. Both of these scenarios significantly increase the risk of sustaining a serious injury.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to report that rollover accidents are some of the deadliest accidents on the road. Of the more than 9 million crashes each year, little more than 2 percent involve rollovers. However, rollovers account for more than one third of all traffic fatalities, claiming more than 7,500 lives each year.
One of the best things a motorist can do to stay safe in the event of a rollover crash is to wear their seatbelt. Nearly three-quarters of those killed in rollover crashes were unrestrained and about two-thirds of them were ejected from the vehicle.
The type of vehicle you drive also impacts your risk of being involved in a rollover. Vehicles with a high center of gravity, particularly trucks and SUVs, are significantly more likely to roll over. Those at highest risk include 15-passenger cargo vans, of the kind often used by church groups and youth organizations. In fact, the safety risks of these vehicles led the U.S. Department of Transportation to forbid their use by schools under federal law.
In the event of an injury sustained in a crash, your best option would be to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney.