Tire Failures in SUVs

Tire failures and blowouts can be catastrophic in virtually any vehicle, but they’re more likely to be deadly in SUVs, which are far more prone to rollover crashes. If a tire blows out on a sport utility vehicle at high speeds, occupants are likely to be injured or even killed if the SUV rolls over.

A driver of any vehicle may have difficulty controlling it when tire failure occurs in the form of a blowout or tread separation. But typical reactions of over-braking, over-steering and over-correction are more apt to be disastrous when the driver is at the wheel of an SUV.

That’s because SUVs have inherent design flaws. Many are built to be top-heavy, with a short wheel base, narrow track width and high center of gravity. These elements combine to make an SUV far more likely to roll over than many other passenger vehicles.

Tire failure is one of the things that makes 90% of all SUV rollovers single-vehicle accidents -- that is, crashes which do not involve another vehicle.

How dangerous are rollover accidents? Consider this: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 10,000 Americans annually die in rollover accidents, or around 30% of all traffic fatalities. Yet the rollovers which cause these 30% of deaths are just 2.5 percent of all auto accidents.

Why Do SUV Tires Fail?

As for why SUV tires fail, that can be due to overheating from road temperatures on the highway, especially during hot summer months, as well as overloaded tires on vehicles which are carrying excess weight.

SUV tires also may fail due to having low pressure or uneven tread wear or failure to rotate tires properly. Tires also may have inherent defects when they are sold, including adhesion defects from the time of their manufacture. Also, some shops sell tires which have aged years before their sale, making them more likely to separate and experience other defects on the road.

Tires that are over six years of age are more prone to tire failure, as are tires which receive bad repair work at a tire repair shop, or tires which were recalled due to safety lapses. Werk or poor sidewall construction also can be a factor.

Why SUV Rollovers are Deadly

SUV rollovers are especially deadly in part because so many parts of the vehicle can fail in a rollover. That includes the roof system, which can collapse under the SUV’s weight if the rollover flips the vehicle so that it rests on its roof. Also potentially compromised in an SUV rollover are airbags, door latches and seat belts.

But most deadly may be “roof crush,” which can occur when an SUV rolls over, lands on its roof and collapses onto the upside-down occupants below. This often occurs in SUV rollovers as roof pillars and roof supports collapse, and the vehicle’s weight presses down on passengers’ heads and spinal cords. Clearly, such a calamity can cause severe and lasting injuries if not death.

When seat belts fail in an SUV rollover, unrestrained occupants can crash against objects inside the vehicle or slam into other occupants. Others may be ejected from the vehicle -- a routine cause of death and debilitating injury in a rollover wreck.

These are known as “second impact” injuries, with the first impact being the collision between vehicles, and the second impact involving occupants who hit objects within or outside the vehicle.

Such second impacts can be offset by roof-mounted rollover airbags or side impact airbags, with which some SUVs are equipped. Electronic stability control systems also can help reduce the number of rollovers. But not all vehicles have such features.

SUV Rollover & Tire Failure Attorney

SUV rollovers due to tire failure or other causes have killed and injured thousands of Americans since SUVs became big sellers in the 1990s. An especially noteworthy SUV defect involved Ford Explorer vehicles equipped with defective Firestone tires that caused deadly rollovers, leading to a massive Ford recall.

The Willis Law Firm was in the forefront of litigation to gain justice for victims and protect innocent Americans from Ford Explorer tire failures and rollovers.

In fact, Attorney David Willis received the national public service award known as the Steven Sharp Award for his part in discovering evidence which exposed Ford Explorer and Firestone tire defects. This helped lead to an enormous recall of more than 8 million vehicles by the NHTSA.

The Willis Laws Firm has championed victims’ rights after SUV rollovers or tire failure for more than three decades. To help you and your family in this or other injury cases, our experienced and knowledgeable team includes accident reconstruction personnel, engineers, tire experts, crash site investigators and many others.

You need not deal with massive insurance companies or auto or tire manufacturers. That’s our job. Let us help you get the payments and the justice you need and deserve after a tire failure, tire blowout, SUV rollover or other accident causing injury.

A Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer, David Willis was first certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1988. The Willis Law Firm will handle your case on a contingency fee basis, meaning we won’t charge you legal fees unless we win your case for you.

Contact us today by calling 1-800-883-9858. We’ll quickly provide you with free legal advice from an SUV tire failure lawyer, and then you can decide how to proceed.