When the air temperature climbs into the 90s during the summer months, surface temperature of the road can reach as high as 150 degrees. The heat of the pavement during the summer explains why Popular Mechanics describes mid-May through the end of October as "tire-blowout season."
An experienced car accident lawyer knows tire blowouts can be extremely dangerous for motorists, who can lose control of a vehicle in a matter of seconds. Drivers need to recognize the added risk of blowouts when warm weather arrives and should take steps to try to protect themselves and other motorists on the road.
Top Causes of Tire Blowouts
Heat is one of the biggest contributing factors to causing a tire blowout, but there are some vehicle conditions which exacerbate the risk. Popular Mechanics lists some of the things which can make a blowout more likely on your vehicle so you can avoid creating a dangerous situation:
- Underinflation: Underinflation is one of the leading causes of tire blowouts. When the air pressure in a tire is too low, the internal components of a tire like steel, rubber, composites, and fabric will begin to flex beyond their normal limits. As the metal in the tires is flexed too far, it can become overheated and snap (heat means this is more likely to happen faster). To avoid this risk, be sure you regularly check tire pressure.
- Overloading of vehicles: When a vehicle is too full, your tires cannot carry the weight of the car comfortably and too much pressure can cause the tires to blowout. Every vehicle has a Gross Vehicular Weight Rating, and you need to be aware of what your car's capacity is.
- Potholes: While there is little you can do about potholes on the road, you do need to be aware a pothole can do serious damage to a tire. Avoid slamming a road hazard or a driveway lip so you don't damage the internals of the tire.
- Tire damage over time: Tires don't typically blow out the second they are damaged. If you repeatedly drive around with low tire pressure or if you have a slow leak in your tires, this accelerates tire deterioration. A tire in poor condition from stress over time is more likely to have a blowout.
Drivers should check their tire pressure regularly to try to avoid these risks. Since 2007, tires must be equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). However, this system won't issue an alert until there is significant underinflation. You should manually check the tire pressure periodically, following manufacturer guidelines for safe pressure in your vehicle. If you find you have been driving for a while with low tire pressure, you should have a professional check the internal components of your tire for damage before you suffer an unexpected blowout on the road.