There is nothing quite like summer in Chicago. The days are long, the temperatures are warm, and there are activities happening in every neighborhood of the city. Summer here is so great that many claim they survive the winters only because they know summer is on its way.
But with all the great things summer bring unfortunately comes some increased risks for injuries and damages, and among those risks are tire blowout car accidents. While tire blowouts can happen in any month of the year, they are more likely during the summertime when temperatures are warmer and the integrity of a tire more likely to fail.
In Illinois, tire blowout season typically begins in mid-May and continues until late September or early October. As the weather here can be unpredictable at the best of times, there is some flexibility in the time of year that sees the greatest number of blowouts. This time of year experiences warmer temperatures which means that the pavement on the roadways is hot. As a car’s tires run over the pavement, the tires become hot and it begins to stress the material. Add that to the fact that most drivers drive longer distances in the summer and have more heavily-loaded vehicles and it is easy to see how a blowout can happen.
Put simply, a tire blowout occurs when one or more tires experience a sudden loss of pressure. While many factors can lead to a tire failure, some of the most common are as follows:
- Overloading a Vehicle: Vehicles and tires are designed to carry only a certain weight load. Exceeding this maximum weight is never a good idea as it puts greater stress on tires and makes a blowout more likely. Think of a spring that continually is forced to bear a greater and greater weight. After a while, the spring will no long be able to maintain its integrity and it will break, causing whatever it was supporting to fall. Similarly, putting too much weight in a car will put stress on the tires and may push them beyond their breaking point, causing them to fail.
- Striking a Pothole: Potholes are a pain for all drivers in Chicago. Especially in early spring, they seem to be everywhere as the damage done by winter snow and ice begins to reveal itself. Potholes are not only annoying, though, but are the cause of a number of tire blowout accidents each year as striking a pothole may cause a tire to fail instantly or to suffer damage that will lead to failure in the days or weeks to come.
- Puncturing a Tire: Coming into contact with any sharp surface is a bad idea when you are driving. Often, broken glass, debris, or other hazards on the roadway can appear with little or no warning and can lead to a punctured tire. A tire with a hole, or a puncture, in it cannot maintain the air pressure necessary for the tire to function as designed and will force a driver to stop or to ruin her wheel if she continues to drive. Some tires are designed to withstand minor punctures but even the most advanced tires can be subjected to a puncture failure in the wrong conditions.
- Underinflating a Tire: Experts recommend checking the tire pressure on each of your tires as least once a month to make sure it is in the desired range. Yet despite this advice, few motorists in Chicago check their pressure often enough, meaning that many drivers are operating on tires with air pressure that is too low. When tire pressure is too low, the tire will be forced to bend and flex beyond its intended limits, making a failure of the internal tire components much more likely and a blowout possible. To avoid this, do a visual inspection of your tires before you drive each time, monitor your pressure monthly, and have your tires serviced regularly by an experienced professional.
Tire blowouts are dangerous not only to those in the vehicle with the blown tire but also to people in nearby vehicles. When a tire fails, a driver is often unable to maintain control of that vehicle and a car accident may result, causing harm to those involved. Some blowouts are accidents that do not cause a driver to be legally liable but many tire failures are due to a defect in a tire, improper maintenance, or a mistake by those handling the tire which can lead to legal liability for any damages that result.
Prior Blog Entry:
CDC: Healthcare Providers Wash Their Hands Half As Often As They Should, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published June 9, 2016.