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Beware retread debris

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by robsalvv, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. This is an article from America, but well timed for us as the winter starts to wane. Basically, don't stay too close to vehicles on freeways/highways for too long - if they kick up debris it could turn very nasty.

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    When the rubber meets the road

    By DONNA HARRIS - dharris@sunherald.com

    The black, jagged strips of rubber from blown tires on South Mississippi highways can become hazards to drivers trying to dodge them.
    A Sun Herald reader asked if something can be done about the menace, which caused at least one death this year and has damaged countless vehicles.

    “My car was hit with one last week when a car in front of me almost ran off the road and hit a retread,” the reader wrote. “That one went flying and hit the front of my car.”

    Tajuana Williams, 37, of Mobile, died last month when she was struck by flying tire tread as she rode on the back of a motorcycle, Highway Patrol Master Sgt. Johnny Poulos said.

    A car hit the debris on Interstate 10 in Hancock County and sent it hurtling toward Williams and the bike’s driver, Clarence Bradley, also of Mobile. They were knocked off the motorcycle. Williams was killed and Bradley was seriously injured.

    Three other motorists reported heavy damage to their vehicles. The tire tread had come off a large commercial vehicle, though it wasn’t clear if the vehicle was an 18-wheeler, he said.

    The driver who lost the tread probably didn’t realize a tire had fallen apart, Poulos said after the accident.

    Call 911 about debris
    The Mississippi Department of Transportation is responsible for keeping debris off the road, said area maintenance superintendent Speedy Rettig. This includes the fragments of new and recapped tires from passenger and commercial vehicles, as well as mattresses, tree limbs and other debris.

    Motorists who see dangerous debris on state and federal roads are urged to report the exact location to 911 or *47, which connects directly to the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

    The highway patrol will contact MDOT, Rettig said, and someone will be dispatched immediately to pick up the debris.

    The highway patrol gets 10 to 15 debris-removal calls a day. Poulos said it’s important for motorists to give a specific location when calling. If officers are near the area, they can clear the road until MDOT can dispose of the debris, he said. Poulos warned drivers should never attempt to move debris from the road themselves.

    Tires hate heat
    Rettig said there’s more tire debris during the summer, when the pavement is the hottest.

    “Most of what you find on the road is tires off the tractor-trailer rigs. They heat up and the more they heat up the more chance they have of coming apart,” he said.

    With cars, drivers are immediately aware of losing one of their tires. But for the big rigs, having 18 wheels or more rolling can keep drivers in the dark when one rips apart and pieces scatter in their wake.

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  2. +1. Up until 12 years ago I only stayed well clear of stock crates. Then I started working for a transport company. I now give every heavy vehicle as much space as I can and get in front of them as soon as possible.
  3. Lotsa roadkill truck tyres here in WA. I've come to accept it as "just one of those things" and ride accordingly.
  4. Just a point, de-lamination of a tyre has very little to do with retreads at all.
  5. I dunno about big truck tyres or regrooving as I haven't enough direct experience, but I've known a shitload of car and light truck remoulds shed their treads, suffer sidewall failure and/or develop an interesting range of other major structural defects. Number of new tyres I've experienced this with? Zero. That's in spite of my experience being slanted towards the....er......more budget end of the market.
  6. Most heavy vehicle tyre casings are good for 2-3 retreads if they are correctly maintained as for regrooving that must be done to manufacturers specs. Most of the debris you see on the roads is caused by under-inflated tyres not retreads. If there is belting in the tread sections of debris it is not from the retread coming off as many people think.
  7. +1 to bluezx14; Overdeflected tyres (underinflated for the load) is the big cause for catastrophic tyre failure.

    Mythbusters visited this a while ago; they got an overdeflected tyre to fail, used high-speed footage to measure the velocity of a big chunk that went flying backwards on a good head-height trajectory and then built a mechanism to launch that same big chunk at a car window/etc. Nicht sehr gut for the dummy being shot at.

    I managed to kick a pretty big chunk of rubber at freeway speeds. Feet dangling on a long interstate ride to stretch my legs; swerved gently around the tyre, 'cause cool cats only swerve just enough to clear the bike's undercarriage - and forgot my feet were hanging down. Ow. :p
  8. I believe on mythbusters they also showed that they can decapitate you when fired at your face. Through a window.

    Stay clear of trucks.