Poor tires are a frequent contribution to truck accidents. Truck tire blowouts often result in loss of control, accidents, or rollovers. Inadequate tread decreases the ability to stop, which is a factor in many loss of control accidents during inclement weather and increases the likelihood of rear ending another vehicle.
Drivers play a critical role in regard to tire maintenance and safety. Their actions make the difference between having a safe run or facing the dangerous consequences of tire failure. To help ensure tires are in safe operating condition, the following practices should be performed:
- Check air pressure: Drivers should verify tire pressure each day before taking the unit on the road. Low air pressure is one of the main causes of blowouts and fires, along with other tire problems. Most tire manufacturers recommend checking air pressure when the tire is cold.
- Check tire condition: During pre and post trip inspections, tires should be thoroughly examined. Items to look for include air leaks; uneven wear; tread; sidewall damage; or anything else out of the ordinary. All lug nuts should be secured in place and rims should be free of defects.
- Verify tread depth: Using a depth gauge, tread depths should be measured regularly to ensure tires meet the minimum FMCSA standards. All tires have a wear indicator, which is a raised spot between the tire treads. If the tread is even with the wear indicator, the tire should be replaced.
- Check between the duals: To ensure there is no hidden tire damage and verify nothing has become lodged between the tires. Make sure your tires are not rubbing together, which could result in an out of service violation.
- Immediately replace missing valve caps.
- Report problems immediately: If a tire defect is found, it should be reported and quickly repaired or replaced. If the damaged tire is in violation of Part 393.75, you should have the repairs performed in a safe location by a road repair service.
- If you hit or run over a big piece of road debris: Do not keep driving. Find a good place to pull over and check to see if any damage has occurred.
- Always take a look between dual tires to see if there is anything wrong; check for any lodged, obstructed, or foreign objects.
- Check the vehicle’s owner manual or the vehicle load and tire information placard to determine precise air pressure. Initial data on the weight of the vehicle and standard load should be provided.