If you have never driven a semi-truck, you might not realize how important every single one of those 18 wheels can be to safety.
You might assume that a blowout on one tire would have little effect with so many wheels to spare. Yet it can be enough to send the truck veering out of control into another vehicle. According to Fatal Accident Recording System Data, blowouts or flats led to 28 fatal crashes in 2020. It’s less than one percent of the 4,9665 fatal crashes that year, yet it certainly matters for those involved.
Can truck drivers do anything about a blowout?
The reason blowouts do not cause more crashes is that the drivers act to bring their vehicle under control, slowing it down safely until they can pull off and change the tire. This will be simpler traveling at low speed on the flat or uphill than when flying down a steep slope.
This is one concern people have about autonomous trucks, which many claims are the way forward. What will happen without a human driver noticing the blowout?
Tire manufacturers are working on it
There has been great progress on tire pressure detection systems that use sensors to notify the driver of issues. They could be linked to autonomous driving systems too.
Maintenance is key
Despite this, future and present safety can be vastly increased by one thing – the driver checking the tires each morning before they set off. Underinflated or worn tires are far more likely to blow than a correctly inflated one well within its lifespan.
If you get hurt in a truck crash, the truck’s tires are one of the many places to look for signs of what went wrong so you can get the compensation you need.