Lorry Tyres Explode!

The following is from a Road Safety Newsletter produced by my colleagues at work. Although the incdent was not recent, it’s not such a bad idea to use it as a reminder.

"The following incidents, which occured earlier this year, clearly show how tyre fires and heat build up have the potential to cause death and/or serious injury to responding emergency personnel and members of the public.

In the first incident the Fire & Rescue Services attended a lorry fire on the A1. On arrival, the articulated trailer was found to be well alight. During fire-fighting operations, two of the tyres on the off-side of the vehicle flew off their steel rims and landed some 20 metres away on the opposite carriageway.

In the second incident a vehicle was travelling West on the M62 when the front nearside wheel came off. The vehicle and wheel came to rest on the hard shoulder. The driver arranged recovery and then approached the detached wheel which suddenly exploded in his face, killing him.

It would appear that the wheel had become detached from the vehicle due to a collapsed wheel bearing. Prior to detaching there had been a massive build up of heat in the wheel rim and hub. Evidence would suggest that the driver, after telephoning his office, returned to the wheel and leant over it, possibly attempting to recover it back to his vehicle. It is at this point that the tyre partially detached from the rim in a sudden explosive manner, catapulting the wheel, tyre and hub into the air striking the driver a fatal blow to the head. The wheel, tyre and hub landed approximately 30 metres away.

An initial investigation has identifyed that, where twin wheels are fitted to an axle, it is possible for the outside tyre to fail in this manner."

There was also a recent accident investiagtion (through my workplace) that dealt with an eight-wheeler hook-lift wagon that lost its third axle. Basically, this was also due to heat build up and caused two prop shafts to heat up, seize and then shear-off. The vehicle was thrown (rear-end) upwards so that the lower front of the cab was scraping along the road before coming down on the nearside and sliding to a halt on the carriageway. The reason for the heat build up was found to be lack of lubrication, probably because a grease ■■■■■■ was missing and this hadn’t been noticed during inspections/maintainance.

Also, for those who doubt it, I have access to the reports dealing with incidents where mobile phones have caused fire/explosions whilst refuelling!!

TRY filling the tyres with nitrigeon as this will keep the tyres cool, prevent
also them catching fire, the pressure stays constant for much longer than
when filled with normal air, also improves tyre life ,by not rusting the steel
thread used in the rubber unlike normal air which does ruin and rust the
steel thread therefore weaking the tyre and causing punctures,

have used this method for a long period of time due to transporting
ADR/ HAZ goods in roadtankers and containers,