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Stability Factors In A Tread Separation Case

The manner in which the tread of a tire peels away during a tread separation event will dynamically affect the stability of the vehicle. Miami tire lawyers need to understand these dynamics because tread separation events happen most frequently in the warm weather states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California.

Vehicle dynamic experts have studied the effects of the tread of a tire peeling away with the top steel belt while leaving the carcass of the tire and the underlying steel belt intact. These events typically occur at highway speeds because the centrifical forces required to have the tread disengage from the rest of the tire are only reached at highway speeds.

The length of time that it takes for the actual disengagement of the tread is proportional to the amount of vehicle instability. With each rotation of the tire there is a drag and pulling dynamic which occurs in the direction of the side on which the tread separation is occurring. During this time that the tire is breaking apart, there will be an influence on the driver to make steering adjustments in the direction opposite to vehicle side where the tread separation is occurring. The longer the tread separation occurs the more adjustments are made.

When the tread finally releases from the tire, the vehicle will suddenly and unexpectedly change from an understeer vehicle to an oversteer vehicle at which time all of the subtle adjustments made by the driver will create a dramatic and over exaggerated response in the opposite direction to the side of the vehicle on which the tread separation occurs.

This is the reason why one commonly sees a vehicle rollover to the left when the right rear tire experiences a tread separation, and conversely a vehicle will go off the road to the right when it is the left rear tire which suffers a tread separation.

All during this period when the tread is pulling away from the vehicle it can slap against and interact with many parts in the undercarriage of the vehicle, creating additional erratic forces.

At Jay Halpern and Associates, we were recently retained in a case where the tread slab, at the conclusion of the accident, was found wound around the rear axle on the underside of the vehicle. These dynamic influences on the vehicle caused by the tread detachment event explain why tread separations are commonly followed by a catastrophic rollover event.