In Colorado and throughout the United States, SUV rollovers and tire failure are commonly linked to motor vehicle defects, which contribute to thousands of injuries and deaths each year. At Bachus & Schanker, LLC in Denver, Colorado, we represent individual defective product claims and class action cases involving motor vehicle defects. Our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help victims pursue compensation for their injuries and other damages.
SUV Rollover Dangers
In 2004, the National Highway Safety Administration estimates that there were more than 11,000 fatal rollover crashes in the United States. In the same year, there were more than 165,000 injury rollover crashes in the United States. According to the NHSA, rollover accidents account for approximately 33% of all traffic deaths each year. While all types of motor vehicles...
can rollover, taller, narrower vehicles with higher centers of gravity, like SUVs, have a much greater likelihood of rollover if involved in a single-vehicle accident. Knowing this, SUV manufacturers are responsible for producing vehicles that can effectively protect passengers in the event of a rollover.
In Colorado, it is important to have information about SUV rollovers due to the high wind and weather conditions that may affect SUV driving. There are many different motor vehicle defects that may contribute to injuries from SUV rollover, including:
Seatbelt defects such as failure of the seatbelt to automatically tighten and loosen during rollovers
Top-heavy vehicle design that increases the risk rollover accidents
Inadequate SUV roof-strength, leading to the roof collapsing in a rollover accident
Defective door latches that fail to hold the doors shut in a rollover accident, causing passenger ejection from the vehicle
Lack of safety glass designed to help protect passengers from being ejected
In order to minimize your risk of injury during a rollover accident, the following guidelines may be useful:
Wear your seatbelt. Research shows that drivers and passengers are 75% less likely to be killed in a rollover crash if they are wearing their seatbelt.
Avoid over-corrective steering. At highway speeds, overcorrecting can cause the driver to lose control and ultimately cause the vehicle to roll. If your vehicle leaves the roadway, instead of jerking the wheel to guide the car back onto the roadway, gradually slow down and ease the vehicle back onto the road.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated for the conditions. If your tires are over inflated or underinflated, or worn, your ability to maintain control of your vehicle in an emergency could be severely compromised. Worn tires may cause the vehicle to slide sideways on wet or slippery pavement, veering the vehicle off the road and increasing its risk of rolling over. Improper inflation can accelerate tire wear, and can even lead to tire failure.
Load Vehicles Properly. You should check your owners' manual to decide what amount of weight is safe for your vehicle and the proper distribution of weight. Take special note of manufacturers instructions when using a roof rack. Any load placed on the roof will be above the vehicle's center of gravity, and will increase the vehicle's likelihood of rolling over.
Tire failure is a common cause of rollover accidents and other Car Accidents. Tire failure may include tire blowouts, faulty tire treads or defectively manufactured tires. The tire tread provides the gripping action and traction that prevent your vehicle from slipping or sliding, especially when the road is wet or icy. Tire tread failure often begins with small cracks in the side of the tire that can eventually turn into larger cracks between the tire belts, causing the tire to wear out faster or the tread to separate. These cracks may develop due...
to design and placement of the belts and overlying treads. Tread separation can happen because of a factors such as unclean manufacturing facilities or foreign objects in the tires such as sawdust, rust, grease and moisture. When a tire tread fails or separates, the tire may have a rapid deflation known as a "blow out," or the tires may lose air over a period of time. This loss of air by the tire will reduce the ability of the driver to control the vehicle. This is especially true for rear wheels. Usually a driver does not have much warning before tire tread separates. In many cases, the driver may only hear or feel a thumping noise immediately before beginning to lose control of the vehicle. If the automobile is traveling at a high rate of speed, this separation may occur so unexpectedly that it will be nearly impossible even for highly skilled, trained drivers to control the vehicle.
Defective tires have been the cause of many catastrophic and fatal traffic accidents in recent years. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Car Accident caused by tire failure, you may have a right to make a legal claim for your injuries. At Bachus & Schanker, LLC in Denver, Colorado, we represent victims in both individual defective product and class action claims. Our lawyers have the resources to thoroughly investigate the cause of the tire failure and will retain the necessary experts to help protect your rights.
Proper Tire Maintenance
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), maintaining proper tire pressure, observing tire and vehicle load limits (not carrying more weight in your vehicle than your tires or vehicle can safely handle), avoiding road hazards, and inspecting tires for cuts, slashes, and other irregularities are the most important things you can do to avoid tire failure, such as tread separation or blowout and flat tires. These actions, along with other care and maintenance activities, can also:
Improve vehicle handling
Help protect you and others from avoidable breakdowns and accidents
Improve fuel economy
Increase the life of your tires
Checking Tire Pressure
It is important to check your car's tire pressure at least once a month because most tires may naturally lose air over time and tires can lose air suddenly if you drive over a pothole or other object or if you strike the curb when parking. For convenience, purchase a tire pressure gauge to keep in your vehicle. Gauges can be purchased at tire dealerships, auto supply stores, and other retail outlets.
Locate the recommended tire pressure on the vehicle's tire information placard, certification label, or in the owner's manual.
Record the tire pressure of all tires.
If the tire pressure is too high in any of the tires, slowly release air by gently pressing on the tire valve stem with the edge of your tire gauge until you get to the correct pressure.
If the tire pressure is too low, note the difference between the measured tire pressure and the correct tire pressure. These "missing" pounds of pressure are what you will need to add.
At a service station, add the missing pounds of air pressure to each tire that is underinflated.
Check all the tires to make sure they have the same air pressure (except in cases in which the front and rear tires are supposed to have different amounts of pressure).
Checking Tire Treads
For safety reasons, tires should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 1/16 of an inch. Tires have built-in treadwear indicators that let you know when it is time to replace your tires. These indicators are raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of the tread grooves. When they appear "even" with the outside of the tread, it is time to replace your tires. Another method for checking tread depth is to place a penny in the tread with Lincoln's head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, you are ready for new tires.