If you are like many other Kentucky residents, when you think about routine vehicle maintenance, you may focus on things like changing the oil, checking the brakes and filling up the window washer fluid. Occasionally, you may have your tires rotated.
You know that keeping your vehicle in good working order helps ensure that it remains safe for driving. The same goes for 18-wheelers. However, they have the added responsibility of making sure that their tires remain in good working order. Due to the amount of weight they carry and the fact that they are the only contact with the road that these long, tall and heavy vehicles have, any issues with the tires could easily lead to disaster.
What truck drivers should do before getting on the road
Before heading out, truck drivers should do the following in order to ensure their tires work optimally on the road:
- They should not only visually inspect the tires, but feel them as well. Unseen defects in a tire could prove dangerous. Not only should they look for road debris such as nails, but also for cuts, snags, exposed steel belts and bulges. They should handle any repairs or replacements prior to leaving.
- They should make sure that the tread size and depth are correct for the vehicle, the load and safety. You would more than likely have difficulty stopping your vehicle with bald tires, especially in inclement weather. Imagine how difficult it would be to stop one of these mammoth vehicles under the same conditions.
- They should make sure the tires are properly inflated. Different loads require different tire inflation levels to maximize the life and safety of the tires.
- They should check the alignment of the wheels, the lug nuts and seals as well. For example, loose lug nuts could become looser during travel and cause a wheel to fall off the truck.
Tires play such an important role in the safety of a truck that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also provides guidelines regarding what tire issues could take a truck out of service.
What happens when truck drivers cut corners
Most truck drivers have schedules to keep. If they run behind or want to reach their destinations ahead of time, they may cut corners when it comes to their pre-trip inspection. They may take the time to check what they consider major components, but fail to adequately inspect the tires, if at all.
If a truck caused an accident in which you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one, this is just one aspect of the crash investigation that requires attention. If the tires failed to meet FMCSA standards by not being roadworthy, that could help prove negligence in any personal injury or wrongful death claims you may file depending on the circumstances.