When we think of what causes auto accidents in Louisville, distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and other common factors typically come to mind. Wheel runoff accidents, however, are usually not anticipated. These types of accidents happen when a wheel detaches from a vehicle, especially on a high speed or densely-traveled roadway.
You could be struck by a vehicle that just lost its wheel, or by the wheel itself because, once a wheel detaches, it can be propelled into traffic. It can bounce into the air and crash through your windshield. It can launch over a median strip into oncoming traffic or roll off an overpass and wreak havoc on the vehicles below.
Poor wheel installation and maintenance
According to Crash Forensics, wheel runoff accidents are usually caused by poor installation and maintenance. When installing a wheel, it should be done meticulously, as over-torquing or under-torquing are common factors in wheel runoffs.
Wheel bolts are designed to stretch and revert to their original form, which is referred to as “clamp load.” When over-torquing occurs, the bolts can be overstretched, making it impossible to pull back to their original shape. Lug nut torque shouldn’t exceed 100 foot-pounds. Over-torquing can be caused by poor use of impact wrenches, which have the capability to reach up to 500 foot-pounds.
When lug nuts are under-torqued, they can come loose over time with wheel motion and vibration. Under-torquing is usually caused by inexperience, poor wrench quality, or bolts that are rusted or eroded.
Poor maintenance of the wheel hub and bearings can also be a factor in wheel runoff accidents. These parts are responsible for allowing a vehicle to travel without experiencing friction. Insufficient lubrication, poorly installed axle nuts, or overloading a vehicle can cause friction. Over time, this can cause wear and tear to the wheel, eventually causing it to detach.
Where did negligence occur?
Wheel runoff accidents are often overlooked, but they can happen in an instant, giving other road users little time to evade the wheel’s destructive path. These cases are highly complex and determining who was responsible can be difficult.
Many crash victims are quick to pin the blame on the driver of the vehicle that lost its wheel. If the driver was operating a vehicle that failed inspection and was deemed unsafe, they may be right.
The driver may not always be the culprit in a wheel runoff accident. In some cases, it could be a mechanic who just finished working on the vehicle. In other cases, the vehicle manufacturer could have produced a part that was defective and prone to failure.
If you or a loved one was injured in an auto accident caused by a wheel runoff, you need an experienced Louisville attorney on your side who will leave no stone unturned. Attorney Aaron Whaley will work tirelessly to find out what caused your crash and fight to hold negligent parties accountable. Contact The Whaley Law Firm today to learn more.