Can An Exploding Tire From A Semi Truck or Trailer Cause Death?


Fact or Fiction?

Could A Tire From A Semi Tractor/Trailer Blowout And Kill Someone?

I have had no doubt that in some circumstances that a tire blowout from a big rig could kill someone, for instance a motorcycle behind a trailer and a blow out occurs. In this video the Myth Busters put this claim to the test, with some interesting results.

The MythBusters first tested whether a big rig tire could actually explode. They managed to obtain several truck tires and subjected them to actual road conditions, to try to replicate certain circumstances that could cause a tire to explode.

Although they could not make a tire fail catastrophically, they managed to cause it to disintegrate violently by running the tire flat at highway speed, though the flying debris failed to hit the dummy set up next to the tire. However, the Myth Busters were able to measure the velocity of the debris.

Taking an actual piece of the exploded tire, the MythBusters launched it at its measured initial velocity into a pig spine-equipped ballistics gel dummy behind a car window. The piece of debris smashed through the window and literally decapitated the dummy, proving the myth was in fact possible. (Original Story Here).

It Is A Fact!

The tire on a Semi Tractor or Trailer can Blow With Deadly Force.

This video shows results from a trailer tire blowout. I have had a number of tires that have exploded. A front tire from tractor exploding can cause damage your fender.

There has been a few times that a trailer tire blow up has bent the metal mud flap bar far enough that I have had to have a blow torch heat the metal to be able to bend it back into place.

(Results of big truck blowout)

You will find several factors as to why a big rig tire may break down while you’re driving on your trip. These tend to be:

  • Under Inflated Truck Tires
  • Bad or Rotted Spare Tires
  • Wrong Truck Tires For The Semi or Trailer
  • Tire Tread Separation

I have been told that most of the time, tire blow out catastrophes and collisions are generally avoidable when the semi truck or trailer is adequately serviced. Most of the tire failures that I have encountered were from retread tires, and from the trailer.

The front tractor steer tires are the least likely to explode, or go flat, they are made specifically for the steering axle, made better and more expensive than the other tires.

I have never driven for a company that put recap or retread tires on steering axles, that might not even be legal. Most people have seen the strips of semi tires that have come apart on the road, we call them gators, and the majority of them are from retread tires.

I have had 1 steer tire in 14 years of professional driving pop, luckily it did not damage any of the fender or wheel well.

I was passing a car and when I was on the side of it, the tire blew, I can imagine the shock from the lady in car next to me, because it sounded like a shotgun, the front tire blowout did not happen with my current employer, (in case anyone from the office should come across my blog and read this.)

It’s time for me to be heading down the road, I can’t be on the computer all day!



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